Sep. 12, 2012 - Issue #882: Down On The Farm
To say life has thrown Christa Couture a few curveballs would be an understatement. The Vancouver-based singer-songwriter, who originally hails from Edmonton, has suffered incredible loss and adversity, but rather than let it break her down, she's used it as inspiration and fuel to continue on.
Couture is an adolescent cancer survivor and her previous release, The Wedding Singer and the Undertaker, was partly inspired by the death of her infant son. Her latest album, The Living Record was supposed to be a turning point, one that would see Couture transition from writing about herself and take a fresh perspective on her music. However, life had other plans.
Another painful loss hit Couture and she was faced once again with an overwhelming wave of emotions in need of an outlet.
"I had to write about them because that's what I do to try to understand my experiences, so I like to think through them and talk through them. So much was happening and the songwriting was reflecting that," Couture explains over the phone from her Vancouver home.
Couture finds writing about deeply personal experiences to be cathartic, but says she's realized where to draw the line as far as what she shares. She still wears her heart on her sleeve, but acknowledges in the past she had no filter as to what she wanted to keep private and what would be released to the public. Couture received some criticism for doing so, but notes that it's all part of the learning experience that is music.
"I think in the beginning I just put myself out there and it was too vulnerable and I'm learning now where my comfort zone is and where to draw the line to share, and how much I really want to share and where I can draw the line and say, 'No, that's private,'" Couture says.
The Living Record is fuelled in part by the aftermath of loss, but it is also a record about living, coupled with new wisdom and experiences encountered along the way. Couture teamed up with producer Steve Dawson for the album and says he helped her shape what she describes as a "band album." Previous releases had been raw, emotional confessions featuring Couture as a singer-songwriter, but The Living Record is a collection of songs articulated through a multitude of styles, including cabaret, indie rock, Stax-Vox and folk. Each song is sonically different, but articulates Couture's stories in its own tailored way. From the opening track, "You Were Here in Michigan," which recounts the first moment Couture felt happiness again, to indie-roots-rocker "Parasite," which is about the haunting plague of "what ifs," to the closer and thesis of the album, "The Way of the Dodo (The Living Record)," Couture hopes her music can be a catalyst for conversation and stories that can resonate with listeners.
Couture sees each new experience, whether it be positive or negative, as a learning experience, and advises others going through similar situations to simply allow themselves to feel what they need to feel.
"There's no right or wrong way and we get so caught up in comparing ourselves to other people or comparing ourselves to standards that we've read about or imagined and as an individual you can't do that," she adds.
With the release of The Living Record and subsequent tour, Couture hasn't had time for a great deal of writing, but she says only time will tell where it goes from here.
"I think after this tour and I get home in November and have a bit of downtime, it'll be interesting to see what comes up and maybe I'll finally start writing those songs that are about other people and not about myself," she says with a laugh.
Sun, Sep 16 (8:30 pm)
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