On the track That Little Part of my Heart, Christa Couture sings “Don’t be afraid to be amazing – you are amazing”. She could be singing this line to another or to herself, about herself, in an attempt to boost her self-talk to a level where renewed courage shines through. It is just one example of the subtle muse at play when she writes her words of life and longing, love and lust and everything in-between.

This is Christa’s fourth release and it marks a departure from the searing self- analysis of her previous albums which dealt with personal tragedy in a way that both inspired and devastated in equal measure. Coming out of a marriage and going through divorceis a time for reflection and self-examination, but when life has dealt you dire cards in the years before, then a certain perspective is brought to bear. Fighting cancer and losing a limb, yet winning the battle, was nothing compared to the deaths of her two children, losses painfully and bravely borne and now referenced through her music.

For this new project Christa has employed the many-talented Steve Dawson as producer/musician and his finely tuned influence is very prominent on Long Time Leaving ‘s 12 songs. The studio musicians add a texture that allows plenty of space and room. The sound is lighter and more commercial with a number of upbeat arrangements to add a nice tempo to the overall feel.

The early glow of a potential new relationship is explored in Alone in This and is balanced against the sad realisation of Separation/Agreement that leaves a feeling of resignation, with lines like “it’s difficult to know how to divide which ghosts are yours and which are mine”. The Slaughter explores flirtation with the heady swim of experimentation and new opportunity to play at being Aphrodite. Solid Ground reaches out to try and find mutual understanding where the “best medicine is an honest conversation”, while Zookeeper looks at the whole process of counselling and the role of a marriage guidance counsellor as a zookeeper overseeing the zoo animals who might strike out at any moment. Dealing with the frustration of failed relationships is given a fresh spin on When It Gets Dark Again and the urge to binge drink all problems away for just a little while.

We end with feelings of enduring, which is a mantra that seems to run through the path of this artist; brave and resourceful, talented and open to tomorrow. Long Time Leaving is a very fine release that sits well in Couture’s catalogue and is an example that creative music that can be found in the worst of experiences and shared for the greater good.