Christa Joy
Gig Seeker Pro

Christa Joy

Easthampton, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Easthampton, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




Christa Joy’s name suits her perfectly. She is exactly that – joy. Pure joy! Born and raised here in the Berkshires, music has always been a central theme in Christa’s life, be it singing old hymns with her grandmother, mother, and sister around the family organ when she was young, singing in school chorus at Southern Berkshire Regional School District and the Berkshire Children’s Chorus, or writing and performing her own songs on stages throughout New England. Christa sings because it brings her joy. Christa’s singing brings joy to others.

For nearly a year now, Christa & I have been working together to produce her debut CD, “Ready or Not”, which she will return home to the Berkshires to release on Friday June 2 at the Gypsy Joynt in Great Barrington. Spring, the season of reawaking and renewal, seems like the perfect time for her CD to drop. It is bursting with songs of love, loss, and rebirth – honest and earnest stories of journeys through life’s changing cycles. “This album could have been a concept album--moving from California, uprooting from the community we had made and moving back to the East Coast,” Christa notes. “There's a lot of literal journeying that happened, from the time when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, to the moment when I felt like I had to live closer to her. A lot of the songs are about leaving and departure. Thresholds. Stepping through. Some songs include returning. Arriving. Those are essential human experiences and include that universal path of birth, life, and death.”

During the making of “Ready or Not”, Christa’s mother, Jennifer Henderson, a loved and respected member of our local community, had a relapse of the cancer she had been diagnosed with a few years earlier. Coming into town from the Pioneer Valley nearly every weekend for the better part of a year to simultaneously work in the studio and be with and help her mother, I often wondered how Christa managed it all, physically and emotionally, and how it influenced her music and songwriting.

“Culturally, we spend a lot of time and energy trying to avoid this idea that we are going to die,” Christa observes. “Being creative, in itself, relates to this experience of trying to make something meaningful out of this human life. As an artist, both moments of joy and moments of sorrow remind me of my ability to be present. When a loved one has a significant illness, it brings to the forefront the poignancy of life. The fleeting quality of being alive and being in relationship with others. A lot of the songs are born from that feeling of bitter-sweetness, appreciation for what's passing or ephemeral. ‘Strange Angels’ in particular, was written in the hospital waiting room and at my mother's bedside. That song and ‘Ready or Not’ emerged from these different experiences, that are shared, but ultimately we navigate alone. The songs, I think, are a way to make honest sense out of all that occurs in our lives. Music puts me in touch with the heart level of my experience, which is healing.”

Christa’s songs are filled with vivid imagery, her lyrics poetic and conceptually creative. Culling from an album’s worth of examples, here is one of my favorites from her song “The Line that I’ve Drawn”.

You’re just a house, I’m looking for a home

Not this broken down porch, not those chairs you unfold

Not those bottles you lie across a dusty sill

I need more than a surface to fill

“Every moment of our lives is an opportunity to notice the everyday magic that surrounds us. The exhaust from the bus clouding the street, the closed up video store, the teenagers underneath the awning of the closed up video store...” Christa offers.

“Writing songs moves me away from conceptualizing about what's happening. It's less like a heavy rain and more like a morning can feel the song softly landing... The majority of my songs are inspired by people I know or experiences people I - The Artful Mind

"Nightcrawler: Joy to the World"

She's the daughter of a preacher man. And a preacher woman, for that matter, since mom and dad were both ministers. She's also known around the Pioneer Valley as Mrs. Joy, beloved kindergarten teacher.

But at her core, Sheffield, Mass. native Christa Joy says, she's always been a singer/songwriter first and foremost.

And in 2010, she moved back to the Valley from California with a nice batch of tunes and an aching in her heart to pursue said calling.

"I was playing coffee shops in the Bay Area and made friends with other songwriters, then my partner Jeremy and I moved to Western Mass. to be closer to my family," Joy recalls. "I starting writing again in earnest, mostly songs relating to my mom's living with cancer, the return to the East Coast, leaving California."

In the spring of 2011, Joy says that her quest to finally go to the studio and crystallize the sonic sugar plums that had been dancing her in head received, well, a kickstart, courtesy of online fundraising platform

"We raised over $5,000 in one month with the help of so many backers," she says. "We were able to start recording by fall."

The resulting effort, titled Ready Or Not, is a 12-tune, semi-conceptual effort that augments Joy's lilting voice and solid compositions with electric bass, Hammond organ and even the occasional "long-distance dedication."

"My friend Matthew Wilson (known regionally for his work with the New Haven-based band The Titles) was actually living in Tennessee during album production," she explains. "And we really wanted some of his pedal steel playing... so he ended up doing it by recording his parts at home and sending the tracks via Internet. So awesome!"

As a means of rolling out Ready to the public, Joy has planned two CD release parties for the coming weeks. The first occurs this Saturday, May 19 at The Arts Block in Greenfield; the follow-up happens June 2 at Great Barrington's Gypsy Joint.

For more info, kindly point your browser to - The Valley Advocate

"Songs of Joy"

Currently an Easthampton resident, Christa Joy was "born in the sticks" and "raised by good folks," then "grew up and ventured into unknown territories," such as northern California. However, "western Massachusetts is my home" and "my songwriting emerges from the lives of people I know and love," as well as from "the natural world, the seasons and braving New England winters. I relate to honest lyrics, simple melodies and ordinary moments that wake us up each day." Those last words could serve as description of what you'll find on Joy's first album, "Ready or Not": 12 wonderfully spare and expertly arranged songs about facing loss and discovering life, delivered in a voice whose purity recalls that of early Judy Collins. The album was produced, engineered and mastered in Joy's native Sheffield, a Berkshire hamlet in which, she says, "there are lots of antique shops and lots of cows" and also "many beautiful things, including a little studio called 'Off the Beat-n-Track.' The person who runs this studio, Todd Mack, is a wonderful musician, person and creative thinker."

Check out the sample tracks at then download the dozen. There's not a clunker in the bunch.

Joy will be performing two album-release shows: Saturday at 8 p.m. at The Arts Block in Greenfield ($10, advance tickets available at and Sat., June 2, also at 8 p.m., at The Gypsy Joynt in Great Barrington ($10, tickets at the door only). - Hampshire Gazette


Ready or Not, 2012.



In her debut album, Ready or Not, singer-songwriter Christa Joy weaves compelling melodies with thoughtful lyrics, finding meaning and magic in everyday life. Leaving California in 2010,Christa returned to Western Massachusetts to be close to her mother, who is living with cancer. This journey gave rise to the twelve songs collected on Ready or Not, to be released in May 2012.

Recorded in her rural hometown of Sheffield, MA, several of the songs portray the strife and resilience of working class life, set against idle cornfields and winding country roads. Other songs explore the terrain between coming and going, looking ahead and looking back, facing loss and discovering life.

At turns jubilant and wistful, Christa sings with a reverence for the preciousness of this life: brief, tough, and beautiful.

Christa Joy is the daughter of a truck driver and pre-school teacher, both of whom also happen to be ministers. Growing up in the Berkshires, Christa combined her love of music with climbing trees and skipping stones. She now lives in the Pioneer Valley, where she teaches Kindergarten by day and continues her search for the perfect swimming hole.