Q&A Scene: Charlie A’Court

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?
The latest single is called Refuse To Fear, a tune I co wrote with Lloyd Spiegel. He was on tour in Europe, so we were meant to get together on Skype to write together. The very day we set aside was the day of the terror attacks in Brussels on the airport and subway lines in March. I didn’t here from Lloyd that day and a couple of days later we reconnected and he told me this story about how he was supposed to perform in Brussels that evening. However, the promoter was close to cancelling the show thinking it might have been seen in bad taste to have it. At the last minute, Lloyd convinced him not to cancel and instead what was to be about 40-50 people at this venue turned out to be more like 300 folks all packed into this little club. Every one wanting to be together and be resilient in the face of such atrocity. I remember Lloyd saying the Belgians “refused to fear” and that’s when it hit me about what we needed to write about.
The song is a message of hope and comfort delivered to a world that needs to embrace our differences and stop drawing divisions in our communities.
After being asked to sing this at vigils for the shooting in Orlando, I knew the song needed to be recorded and there for people to share. Here’s the lyric video for it:

What’s your favourite work at this point in time? 

I just finished doing a three night run with Chris Wilson and Ray Beadle called The Best Of Chess Records, featuring tributes to that iconic catalogue of great blues that really became the gold standard a lot of blues has been measured by since. The response was over whelming and and can’t wait to do another run. The real joy that I get out of continuing to tour Australia is the amount of collaboration I’ve been privileged to do. From writing and performing with folks like Spiegel, Beadle and Wilson, Ian Moss, James Reyne, Diesel, Mahalia Barnes, Pete Cornelius, Rosscoe Clark and Harry Brus, (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg), there’s just been an awesome welcoming for me here and I don’t take that for granted.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

Beer battered tempura crispy crunch with tender melt-in-your-mouth cream filled centre, because who doesn’t like dichotomy in their textures. Essentially BB King and Aretha Franklin had a baby and that baby was Otis Redding and Otis Redding adopted Eric Clapton who went on to have a whole slew of kids with Bonnie Raitt named Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa and John Mayer.
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

I found out huntsman spiders can’t fly. My very first trip to Aus was playing at Woodford Folk Fest and I was sitting in the front passenger side of the artist shuttle. I saw this spider walking across the dash towards me so I asked the driver what I needed to know. He, very matter-of-fact, said, “Ahh look, if they bite you, it won’t kill you but you’ll probably be sick for 3 or 4 days.” Not very reassured, I quickly asked, “Yeah, anything else?” As the huntsman was slinking across the vinyl sign that read “shuttle”, the driver replied, “Huntsman can’t fly worth a damn,” and he grabbed the sign and flung it and the spider out in to the middle of traffic. My hero!

What, or who, inspires you?

I have lots of musical heroes but in all honesty, it’s my wife who encourages me to keep going even after I’m convinced this whole thing is nuts and I’m ready to torch my guitars. There’s no way I’d be travelling to the other side of the planet if my wife didn’t have that kind of belief in me that she’s willing to be a single parent for weeks on end. She’s a very strong and practical person but recognizes that I’ve been “built” a certain way that needs to get out and chase this passion. She’s my inspiration.
Which song do you wish you wrote?

Well that’s easy, all the ones that made the money. HAHA. I don’t know really how to answer that. I write what I can about what I know and what I know is how I feel. The songs that I’ve ever felt like, “Wow I wish I wrote that,” have made me feel like that because they’ve got great groove or because the singer’s voice sounds perfect in that key on that tempo with that groove and that tone. I mean, try singing “Tip Of My Tongue” in any other key than B and it just doesn’t seem to have the same magic.
What’s next for you?

After this it’s back to Canada for my fall shows and gearing up for winter which always tends to be a slow time for touring. It’s perfect for lots of demoing and writing for new projects.
What’s your scene?

I’ve always been a product of my Dad’s record collection so it was first hand taste of R&B and soul, electric blues and Motown. Even though I grew up and live in Atlantic Canada which is stereotypically known for it’s Scottish Irish musical heritage, it never really grabbed my attention the way BB King or Otis Redding and Etta James did.

Canadian Soul/Blues singer Charlie A’Court has become a regular visitor to our shores and has worked with a number of Australian artists on a range of different projects.  His 2015 release Come on Over was produced by Mark Lizotte, and featured Mahalia Barnes in a soulful duet on the track I’m Sorry. 

A’Court has also recently released a new single Refuse To Fear, written with one of Australia’s finest Bluesmen Lloyd Spiegel.  The pair had been invited to write a song to present at Canada’s East Coast Music Awards.  Charlie and Lloyd arranged to work together via Skype while Lloyd was touring Europe, and Charlie, Canada.

On March 22, Lloyd was in Brussels – due to perform that night.  It was the day of the terror attacks at the airport and Malbeek metro train station. At first it was decided to cancel the performance. But eventually the promoters and Lloyd decided to go ahead with the show, expecting only 20 or 30 people to venture out. A couple hundred attended instead, with people wanting to come out and connect – shoulder to shoulder, united in grief, but refusing to give in to fear.

In the hours and days that followed, Lloyd and Charlie wrote Refuse To Fear together over Skype and debuted it live, as planned at the East Coast Music Awards. Since then, Charlie has sung it at some particularly moving events, most recently, a vigil organised in Halifax in the wake of the Orlando shootings targeting the LGBTQ community.

Lloyd Spiegel also joins Charlie for a double headline bill show in Melbourne @ The Flying Saucer Club on this current tour.  See below for details. But the collaboration projects don’t stop there for the acclaimed Canadian soul/blues artist.

Charlie A’ Court’s Australian tour also features 3 performances in Sydney, Newcastle & Cronulla, where he has joined forces with Ray Beadle & Chris Wilson in what’s sure to be a terrific tribute to the legendary Chess Records.

CHARLIE A’COURT AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES

Thur 8th Sept: The Golden Vine Hotel

135 King St, Bendigo VIC https://www.facebook.com/goldenvinebendigo/ Ph 03 5443 6063

Friday 9th Sept: Baha Tacos

2201 – 2209 Pt Nepean Rd, Rye VIC www.bahatacos.com.au Ph 035985 2077

Sat 10th Sept Flying Saucer Club With Lloyd Spiegel

4 St Georges Rd, Elsternwick VIC www.flyingsaucerclub.com.au Ph 03 9528 3600

Sun 11th Sept Way Out West Roots Music Club

128 Ferguson St, Williamstown VIC Wowrootsmusic.com Ph 0414 784 221

For more information:

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About Mary Boukouvalas 871 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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