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Christa Couture

The Wedding Singer and the Undertaker

(Killbeat; US: 20 Apr 2008; UK: Unavailable; Canada release date: 20 May 2008)

This is one lady who has known pain. With her gorgeously intimate voice—somewhere between the tough vulnerability of Amy Rigby and the passionate, sophisticated folk of Joni Mitchell—Christa Couture sings with heart-on-sleeve intensity about the suffering and loss she has faced in her life. After dealing with issues such as the brutal experience of losing a leg to cancer (“The Next Bed”) on her debut album, Fell Out of OZ, the Vancouver-based songwriter now takes the opportunity to explore through cathartic lyrical poems the happiness of falling in love and the devastating grief of her infant son’s death. It’s truly remarkable that listening to The Wedding Singer and the Undertaker does not feel like the aural equivalent of ambulance chasing. This is down to Couture’s writerly, at times even playful, skill with words as well as the uplifting production, once again by Futcher (Be Good Tanyas), who embellishes these fraught missives with billowing string and horn arrangements, tub-thumpimg stand-up bass and Couture’s crystaline piano and acoustic-guitar playing. Nevertheless, if you can hold back the tears whilst listening to “A Grief as This”, as a sweet trumpet blows to the heavens, you’re a better man than this reviewer.

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