Long Time Leaving

by Christa Couture

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1.
Cryptographer working to encipher does she know that when I think of her all the words get caught up in my chest? Encoded this message in a stolen kiss all I want is to return it, over prairies, over mountains west Sigh, oh my my call me Dione’s daughter and lay, go on and lay me down on the stone for slaughter an offering Cartographer illustrates the picture south of the equator building on an educated guess He draws the lines linear and serpentine says “I’ll show you yours, you’ll show me mine and we the undersigned vow to do our best” Sigh, oh my my call me Dione’s daughter and lay, go on and lay me down on the stone for slaughter an offering Morning graces the land our glorious hands Morning praise for the sun our rapturous tongues Morning.
2.
It was not just happenstance when I caught you hold my glance when we said goodbye and lingered with our hands Or did I imagine that? What I felt did you feel back? Don’t lie to me you’re a better man than that Oh tell me yes or tell me no if it’s yes then I won’t persist Am I alone in this? It would be one hell of a second chance ‘cause many years have come to pass since I turned away and took another path That somehow brought me back to that moment that we had when it seemed like love wasn’t only in our past Oh tell me yes or tell me no if it’s no then kiss me quick Am I alone in this? Well your lips are spoken for but the words than they employ have been tending to a somewhat open door and that’s one kind of blurry line that messes with my mind what I need from you is something more defined Oh tell me yes or tell me no ‘cause I don’t’ want to guess Am I alone in this? Oh tell me yes or tell me no and if it’s yes then I won’t persist Am I alone in this?
3.
Waiting at the border gonna cross in North Dakota maybe get to Minnesota before dawn I’ve been placing my survival in departures and arrivals putting all my stock in going, going gone Is it getting old? Truth be told – I keep hoping for something to finally take a hold Until that hold is all I know, I will hit the road Hello Michigan it’s been two years since we had a thing since you reminded me I sing before I ever start to speak and it is some kind of beauty that you see right through me that you find a way to move me from a place of feeling weak Is it getting old? Truth be told – I keep hoping for something to finally take a hold Until that hold is all I know, I will hit the road Orphaned, I am orphaned on the shore of this great lake Fortune, such good fortune to be found here alive and awake Is it getting old? Waiting at the border and the night is getting colder been on the road dear since dawn Only half way to Calgary but I’m running on empty will you come and get me before I’m gone to long? Is it getting old? Truth be told – I keep hoping for something to finally take a hold Until that hold is all I know, I will hit the road
4.
The hallways are neatly lined with boxes stacked this is what eight years looks like packed and it’s difficult to know how to divide which ghosts are yours, and which are mine The house has never seemed heavier than this even for all the empty rooms and the stillness I’m a little bit lost here I admit but when I whispered your name to come back, I didn’t mean it Don’t you cry for this don’t you cry for the leaving If you’re gonna cry make it for the reason this is no one’s fault A slow and steady teasing out the past careful it’s a fragile artifact and difficult to decipher when you’re still hurting which part you’re losing and which part you’re learning Nothing knows you better than these walls and these walls would sigh if these walls could talk they know every dark secret, every dark moment, every dark night every hard line, every oversight Don’t you cry for this don’t you cry for the leaving If you’re gonna cry make it for the reason this is no one’s fault Inhale, exhale, rewire, program, practice, backfire – you’re on track It’s a long road you’re on now, and the origin is gone now, don’t look back And don’t you cry for this don’t you cry for the leaving If you’re gonna cry make it for the reason this is no one’s fault.
5.
Zookeeper 03:20
I’ve not been keeping score does the final tally really matter anymore? Our zookeeper’s getting bored quietly waiting while the creatures are pacing But careful those cages aren’t locked Careful when the animals talk ‘cause they never lie and the questions you’ve been asking may need no reply I’ve not been entirely clear since the flooding it’s been a little muddy ‘round here Our zookeeper’s all but disappeared The water’s receding and the creatures need feeding But careful those cages aren’t locked Careful when the animals talk ‘cause they never lie and the questions you’ve been asking may need no reply This ground is well covered Everything’s been said To the cause of defending our flaws we’ve been dedicated But careful those cages aren’t locked Careful when the animals talk ‘cause they never lie and the questions you’ve been asking may need no reply I’ve not been keeping score I’ve not been keeping score I’ve not been keeping score and our zookeeper – she’s seen it all before.
6.
Lovely Like You (free) 03:01
There are bees in my belly and they’re buzzing Tulips in my tummy and they’re budding Oh spring is my body and it’s coming What I wouldn’t give to be lovely like you There are stars down my spine they are aligning The moon is in my eyes and it is shining Oh the night is my body and it’s pining What I wouldn’t give to be lovely like you There ain’t no saving for a rainy day There ain’t no saying it any other way Please let me into your honey comb, please let me call you all my own There are rivers in my fingers overflowing Water level’s rising it shows no sign of slowing but baby underwater we are glowing What I wouldn’t give to be lovely like you There ain’t no saving for a rainy day There ain’t no saying it any other way Please let me into your honey comb, please let me call you all my own What I wouldn’t give to be lovely what I wouldn’t give to be lovely what I wouldn’t give to be lovely like you.
7.
She wakes up startled, shakes off the remnants of the night Ever forgetful, she takes her time to adjust to light Empties the ashtray, pulls out her suitcase They’ll be all over this in the papers Morning, coffee, she sings Harlem Blues just a touch off key Wanders and lingers, she’s in no rush to take her leave Eyes the crack in the window and the human traffic below They’ll be all over this in the lobby, in the taxi Airplane descending, New York appears a carpet of gold She wonders and marvels at the thought of “how many light bulbs?” The man sat beside her reminds her of another They’ll be all over this when it’s over, and it’s over Hold on hold on hold on to someone
8.
Solid Ground 03:55
My heart’s filled with arsenic and it’s seeping out from time to time in these lines But I can offer plenty of reason for my seething though there’s never the time If you’re willing, pull up a chair I’ll put on the kettle and I’ll join you there And we’ll start at the top and work our way down until we reach solid ground ‘cause surely you are feeling just as hard and heartbroken as I am for the elements they take no rest and they make no exceptions If you’re willing, pull up a chair I’ll put on the kettle and I’ll join you there And we’ll start at the top and work our way down until we reach solid ground I’m not afraid of the dark like you are I’m not afraid of your heart like you are ‘cause I know the best medicine is an honest conversation And I’d be willing to trade – a fair exchange for your candor in kind If you’re willing, pull up a chair I’ll put on the kettle and I’ll join you there And we’ll start at the top and work our way down until we reach solid ground.
9.
I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal and it’s getting up to my head all this taking the lead But I am steady in my ways – to change would be a hassle you went and you planted a bomb (but called it a seed) In that little part of my heart that I’ve kept under cover that has got this far with no to little remark Now I’m thinking a lot about my ex-lovers and I’m sorry now I kept them in the dark I’m the king of the castle never wanted me a queen but you seem to pushing past the barrier So I’m put on red alert ‘cause I think that this could hurt but you sweetly say to me “the more the merrier” In that little part of my heart that I’ve kept under cover that has got this far with no to little remark Now I’m thinking a lot about my ex-lovers and I’m sorry now I kept them in the dark Don’t be afraid to be brave, when you are brave Don’t be ashamed to be amazing – you are amazing I’m the kind of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal and it’s getting up to my head all this taking the lead I’m the king of the castle – you’re my loyal subjects but then again we never did put it to a vote But I love all of my people, I love them from a distance it’s the kind of love best kept remote For that little part of my heart that I’ve kept under cover that has got this far with no to little remark has got me thinking a lot about my ex-lovers and I’m sorry now I kept them in the dark I’m sorry now I kept you in the dark.
10.
I remember when we lost it There was a bridge and I didn’t cross it Oh the cab fare to get there was a dime that I couldn’t spend But if I still love you like I love you, can we still be friends? There was a moment maybe wasted but when I’m near you boy I still can taste it Oh light sleeper, when you wander well I wonder where you will end like I wonder if I still love you, can we still be friends? And the thoughts that pulls me under are thoughts of storgic lovers Thoughts I want to tell you – but I think we would just argue I could find you in the dark still if you need me to know that I will Though I know that to go back would be just a game of pretend But what I don’t know is if I still love you, can we still be friends? If I still love you baby, tell me, can we still be friends?
11.
Bloodshot and tired, I had a rough night you know what I mean when I say, rough, don’t you? right? I would’ve been fine if I’d gotten some sleep but there was none to get and it wasn’t just me Made up our faces and mixed what we had giggling we called and fell into a cab Scoped out the crowd of a crowded bar then tore at their flesh like the beasts that we are ‘cause when it gets dark again I start drinking again throwing my own heart out to the wolves again If I lose the plot again I’ll just start over again we’re all gonna hit rock bottom now and then If you think I’m easy you haven’t got that right I just pick my battles but I know how to fight Yes I’ve been beaten but that won’t happen twice for now my best defence is just to smile and play nice Until it gets dark again I start drinking again throwing my own heart out to the wolves again If I lose the plot again I’ll just start over again we’re all gonna hit rock bottom now and then I’ll buy another round for my midnight friends The bottle’s not a good one but she’s a friend Looks like I’ve done it again, it must be the weekend and you must be my new best friends, and friends – it’s getting dark again let’s start drinking again throwing our own bones out to the wolves again If we lose the plot again we’ll just start over again we’re all gonna hit rock bottom now and then I’ll buy another round for my midnight friends The bottle’s not a good one but she’s a friend And we’re all gonna hit rock bottom now and then Ya we’re all gonna hit rock bottom, we’re all gonna hit rock bottom we’re all gonna hit rock bottom in the end.
12.
Aux Oiseaux 02:48
Closed closed closed The signs on the windows they go: “we’re closed closed closed, and you young thing you better get home” And I blush “Young thing” these days, not so much I feel old old old I feel the years of the world in my bones But I’m not fussed I know what I am and am not I know what I can and cannot I know what I have and I want I want to hold hold hold and not have to let go When death comes I want to say “No” But don’t judge – I’ve been through a lot I don’t say that to say that you’ve not I think that we’ve both been cut up we both have… But guess what? I’m glad that we’re here in this dump If together is all that we’ve got it’s enough for us not to give up Don’t give up, don’t give up And we’ll go go go I see us where shadows grow where je suis oiseaux.

about

LONG TIME LEAVING is available through Black Hen Music
www.blackhenmusic.com/album-long-time-leaving and on iTunes!

--

For most musicians, the break-up album is the quintessential songwriter cliché – bringing with it the burden to eek out some kind of originality from an oversubscribed muse.

But for award-winning indie artist Christa Couture -- whose first three albums reflected on her teenage battle with cancer, the loss of her left leg to the disease, and the deaths of both of her young children under separate circumstances -- the opportunity to write songs about such ordinary heartache seemed like a welcome reprieve.

On the Steve Dawson-produced Long Time Leaving, Christa offers a truly unique take on the topic thanks in part to a long and complex relationship with grief that’s given her rare insight into its nuances.

It’s a mostly upbeat album filled with sweet soaring hooks, whimsical melodies, clever word-play and Christa’s trademark sweet, quirky vocals.

It is at times an album to sing along to, even an album to do housework too (!!) – something Christa was striving for – and an album about continuing to move forward in the aftermath of tragedy.

Case in point is “When it Gets Dark Again,” a compassionate ditty with an “Ooo ooo ooo” chorus, about the times when binge-drinking is a perfectly understandable and forgivable response to pain.

“Zookeeper” is a darkly amusing, musical theatre-influenced escapade that compares the process of couple’s counseling to that of a zookeeper tending to wild animals.

“In the Papers” is a clever, fictionalized account of that feeling when you know everyone’s talking about you.

And the album’s opener, “The Slaughter,” is a wistful melody with lush vocal reverb in which Christa describes post break-up dalliances with both women and men – and ponders queer identity, lust and exploration.

The collection seems effortlessly cohesive as Christa’s expansive vocals and singular writing style provide the foundation for an array of arrangements – ranging from the sprightly, minimalist “Aux Oiseaux” to the twangy “Alone in This.” The latter is Christa’s “Nashville breakup song,” in honor of the city where the album was recorded.

Juno-winner Dawson not only produced the album but also contributes as a musician, adding pedal steel Weissenborn, ukulele and electric guitar. The top-notch band is rounded out by Blackie and the Rodeo Kings’ rhythm section: John Dymond (k.d. lang, Bruce Cockburn) on bass and Gary Craig (Jann Arden, Anne Murray) on drums. Famed Nashville-based fiddler Fats Kaplin also makes an appearance on the coquettish “Lovely Like You.”

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released April 15, 2016

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Christa Couture Toronto, Ontario

“A remarkable chanteuse, singing superb material,” deems Roots Music of Christa Couture, an award-winning indie artist who has built a reputation for transforming tragedy into musical triumph, with sharp-shooting wit, effortless grace, and heart-on-sleeve intensity. ... more

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