Christa Couture’s The Living Record is one of those.
Even if you didn’t know she was a 2008 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award winner; even if you didn’t know she earned great reviews for her two previous CDS; even if you didn’t know she’d received significant CBC airplay; even if you didn’t know Steve Dawson produced the record, or that Jim Byrnes joins her for a duet… something would tell you to slit the cellophane and pop the The Living Record into the tray.
And having done so, you’d hear a remarkable chanteuse, singing superb material, tastefully arranged and produced. Couture’s voice floats over the album’s pop-roots foundations like a butterfly over a garden.
Some reviewers hear Jane Siberry, Joni Mitchell; Tori Amos might also come to mind at points. But that’s merely a way of saying Couture’s work has the combination of accessibility, and emotional depth such thoughtful writers have in common.
Her lyrics are landscapes, seen as through the window on a voyage of dark nights and bright mornings. There’s a long highway rolling beneath her words, and stories we only get hints of as the music moves us through.
Couture’s website bio reveals more: these songs were born in heartbreak and devastation beyond what many of us will ever know. But lyrics like “It’s hard to say I’ll ever gain the capacity for joy again” are the exception, not the rule. The Living Record is not a work of tragedy, but of redemption.