Just in case you may not have heard the name, listen up, cause this is definitely the year of Charlie A’Court. In the blues world he’s the man to watch and once you hear him, there’s no forgetting. His performance can only be described as blistering, as he takes hold of the stage and commands attention, and there ain’t nobody going to stand in his way. He began 2003 with a list of nominations from Nova Scotia to Memphis, walking away with the ECMA for Best Blues Artist. On the awards show, A’Court took part in the tribute to Myles Goodwyn, capturing the attention of audience members across the country and beyond.
“The ECMA weekend was amazing, for many reasons”, recalls A’Court, “it was very gratifying, especially as a new artist, it gives you a big sign of encouragement, and tells you, your on the right track.” He was most proud due to the fact that his whole family were there to share in the moment, while others watched the telecast. “That was certainly a real time of family pride, and important for new artists on the east coast, it says people are digging it.”
A’Court notes that this is a great time to be involved in the industry. “You don’t have to fiddle or sing Gaelic, and look at people like Nathan Wiley, and the Cottars, their first time out as well, and they nailed it in their respective genres.”
The engaging performer is also excited about the relatively new East Coast Blues Society, which will have its inaugural gathering in Halifax during August. “This will definitely aid artists in being included in important blues conferences, such as the Blues Foundation in Memphis.” He tells me that each year invitations go out to certain individuals, but that they are restricted to those affiliated with a registered society. “So this is a great step in furthering the careers of artists on the east coast, so it’s a great time, especially with festival season coming soon.”
Growing up in MacCallum Settlement (population 50), a small community north of Truro, A’Court recalls being a young kid listening to the blues. “My Dad had a collection of Matt Minglewood, Theresa Malentfant, and Dutch Mason, and as time went on, I found a lot of American and British blues music as well.” He says at the age of 12 the music just grabbed hold and it became a way of life.
“It’s been proven that blues music is therapeutic, when things are good and bad.” He notes that in the 40’s and 50’s there was acoustic blues, where the topics of songs were actually dealing with the depression. A’Court can even recount a certain verse from one such number… ‘My Mom had the blues, My Daddy had em too….I was born with the blues.’ “This music has the power to heal, and there’s nothing more powerful, (and not uncommon),than to hear someone from the audience scream out an Amen,” insists A’Court.
“My Dad played a 12 string, and my Grampa played a Hawaiian lap top steel guitar, so I listened to them and though I did take piano for a time, once I tried the guitar, I was hooked.” He also credits a junior high music teacher with giving classical guitar lessons, which he took for two years, which really added a dimension to his style.
Though barely in his mid twenties, A’Court is a very old and wise soul, and well on his way to capturing legions of fans, with his appreciation for a life well lived. His debut album ‘Color Me Gone’ has been getting regular airplay across Atlantic Canada as well as nationally by CBC. This is one of our great personalities, on and off the stage, and one not to be missed.
The Savoy Theatre will host a brilliant pairing of A’Court and respected singer / songwriter Dave Gunning on May 22nd. “I am really excited to be coming back to the Savoy especially with someone like Dave, and we will have bassist Joe Butcher, so it should be a great time!”