Dave Gunning / Charlie A’Court
May 22, 2003 – Savoy Theatre
Thursday evening (May 22), the Savoy hosted a truly diverse pairing of artists in Dave Gunning and Charlie A’Court. What they may lack in common on the musical front, they more than make up for in the shared sense of humour.
Gunning started things off with his usual selection of songs that celebrate humanity, and certainly left a lasting impression on this crowd, as he is the master at recreating true life fables that touch the hearts of the listener. One particular standout was “The Prince of Pictou County”, just a sample of the many local characters that Gunning brings to life in song lyrics.
Since the show, I have heard people talking about his most poignant composition to date, “Taxi Phone”, which tells the story of the tragic end of a life through the eyes of the victim’s son. Almost as compelling is how Gunning recounts how the words came to be, and his reluctance to share them for fear of upsetting the family. Ironically the opposite was true as they brought comfort to those affected by the crime.
All was not on a sombre note though. Gunning was truly entertaining when he recounted, in comic fashion, his experience of being invited to tour with none other than Stompin’ Tom Connors. The story was coloured with precise impersonation, both in speech and in the “The Ketchup Song”. The crowd was in hysterics.
Charlie A’Court wowed the audience not only with his soul-filled originality on vocals but with a funk-induced guitar solo and accompaniment. Beginning with “If This Is Love I’d Rather Have The Blues”, A’Court laid on a continuous helping of the blues, including a knockout performance of “Walkin In Memphis”, and a very fine “Greatest Fan Of Your Life”. The 2003 ECMA Blues Artist of the Year winner definitely attracted many new fans in Glace Bay with his heartfelt delivery throughout the night, peppered with personal experiences that endeared him to the crowd.
Coming together for a fitting close, the duo shared the stage for “Loving Her Was Easy”, and “The Long Black Veil”, showing their ability to blend the two distinct styles, for a winning combination. Joining the pair throughout the evening was bassist Joe Butcher, who also added backing vocals for both.
It was a great night and the first stop on a mini tour of Cape Breton, blending music, spellbinding stories, and powerful songs.