Auld Lang Syne takes on a special meaning for Halifax recording artist Charlie A’Court this year as he not only helps ring in 2023 at The Carleton but revisits an old friend with a 20th-anniversary performance of his album Color Me Gone.
Listening back to Color Me Gone as an album, what sticks with me 20 years later is the dynamic of the emotion and how real it felt to me at the time. – Charlie A’Court
Recorded in 2002, Color Me Gone would go on to win awards for blues recording of the year at both the East Coast and Nova Scotia Music Awards and launch A’Court’s career as a songwriter, musician and guitarist.
“I feel like it was yesterday working in the studio, crafting those songs,” says A’Court. “And then I look at myself in the mirror, and I realize it is not the young man that stepped into the studio all those years ago. I think of the touring, all the songs I’ve written and the life experience I’ve gained since, but I still feel this giddiness of stepping on a stage and playing these songs as if I were playing them for the first time again.”
Taking its name from one of the tracks on the album, it is one of the most personal songs on the recording.
“At that point in my life, I had just come out of what would’ve been my first long-term relationship,” says A’Court. “I thought there was a future there, but in the snap of a finger, there wasn’t. And out of everything from that project, that song had a particular amount of hurt and gravity.”
The personal nature of Color Me Gone and the album, in general, was an essential aspect of A’Court’s debut.
“I thought it was important to be honest with how I was feeling at the time,” he says. “And coming out as part of the blues community with this release, I wanted to I just wanted to show honest emotion.”
As a guitar player, Color Me Gone remains one of A’Court’s favourites from the album, but others are just as important to him.
“I love singing the tenderness of Hello Love which is almost a continuance of the story from Color Me Gone,” he says. “There’s this beautiful upright bass piano solos featured on that song, and it’s a real tender emotional point of the album.”
It is the dynamism that continues to resonate with A’Court.
“Listening back to Color Me Gone as an album, what sticks with me 20 years later is the dynamic of the emotion and how real it felt to me at the time,” he says. “I was lucky enough to tap into that so that I could put it on record and have it there for all time.”
Although Color Me Gone will take centre stage at his two New Year’s shows, A’Court will also pull from his substantial discography.
“The idea is to play the album in chronological order, where we’ll play a few tunes off the album, and then we’ll cut away to a song from the newer stuff,” he says. “We want to tip the hat to where it all started but also show the audience how that sound, writing and playing has developed over the years.”
Leaving the retrospective behind in 2022, A’Court has multiple projects planned for 2023.
“I am working on a cool new project with Ontario blues artists Suzie Vinnick and Australian blues artist Lloyd Spiegel,” says A’Court. “The three of us are recording an EP to coincide with our spring tour.
Calling it an “international roots and blues kitchen party,” the tour will kick off in March and take the trio across Canada from Whitehorse to St. John’s.
In addition, A’Court is working on plans to return to Australia and a new solo recording.
“I’m in the writing phase for that now and collaborating with some great artists to create some great new songs,” he says.
Charlie A’Court rings in the New Year at The Carleton (1685 Argyle St, Halifax) with two shows on December 31. The early show has already sold out, but a few tickets remain for the late show. Visit thecarleton.ca for tickets and information.