Taking it to the stre…um, er, houses?

A big thanks to Lubiana for turning me on to this guy. He reminds me of Taylor in a lot of ways.

You can visit his official site here.

From his site:

The first radio single from Bring On The Storm is Big Dark Canyon, the rock-infused collaboration between A’Court and song-writer/multi-instrumentalist, J.P. Cormier. This cleverly written song paints the picture of three different characters collectively and symbolically finding themselves driven to the edge, desperately seeking the return of innocence from times gone by. This soul story was born from a songwriter’s retreat held at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival where A’Court and Cormier wrote the song in an afternoon and were required to perform it that evening for a large audience.

And can you imagine if Taylor Hicks did this?

The lights dim as the pre-show chatter of the audience stills to a quiet murmur of anticipation. Everyone settles in for an intimate evening of music as the first chords are struck and a voice full of soul and life beyond its years fills the house.

And to make the night complete, Boots your favourite cat curls up on your knee to share the experience of sharing your home with your friends and recording artist Charlie A’Court.
No, the award-winning musician hasn’t dropped by to jam with you in your kitchen. He’s set up to provide you and your friends with a night of entertainment that will elevate your hosting status to beyond the stars.

The house concert is a concept that has been around for decades but over the past five years, A’Court has added the intimate shows as another means “to keep gas in the tank and food in the belly.”

The 30-year-old performer said during a recent interview that he has played a couple of dozen concerts at private homes over the past two years and aside from enjoying every aspect of the shows, they’ve “become a vital way for independent musicians to come home from the road with any money in their pocket. Because of the economy it’s a brave new world out there for musicians. If I had to rely on the metropolises of Canada for all of my income I would be in the hole before I left home.”

While keeping gas in the tank can be driving force enough to keep a musician performing, A’Court’s love for his career choice is evident when he talks about how much he enjoys doing house concerts.
“They are a way for me to connect the dots from rural community to rural community across this country. You have people putting on a private function in their home so it’s stripped down to a more basic evening that opens up the intimacy of the whole experience.

“There’s a different sort of energy that happens at a house concert. More personality comes through because things are so intimate, so much so they can even pass me my guitar,” he said with a laugh.
Turns out that’s what happened at a concert in Petite Riviere. With 50 people gathered for the evening, it was one of the larger house concerts he’s played but the hostess has set up a couch near where A’Court was sitting. Four lucky people had tickets to the VIP section, with the added bonus of being quasi-roadies for the night.

“You have to be comfortable as an artist with that kind of intimacy. You’re the only distraction in the room, the focus of attention for the next 90 minutes or more.”

The show that A’Court performs in the comfort of a person’s home is the same as that one would enjoy in a larger, soft seat venue or a bar. Unlike a bar show, the audience at a house concert is there to listen to every song and every story behind the music.

”It’s a breath of fresh air to be able to experiment with your nuances and dynamics in a way that can’t be done in a club where you may reach 50 per cent of the crowd. At a house concert, you are reaching 100 per cent of the audience.”

A’Court never ceases to be amazed at how creative some of the hosts can be. “It can have all the elements of a really nice dinner party at someone’s home with the added structure of a professional show. What better way to expand your fan base?”

The evening doesn’t end when the sound system is turned off and the instruments packed away. It’s during the wind down after the concert that A’Court gets the opportunity to socialize and meet the people he’s performed for. “I love that. I’ve made so many new friends who’ve made me feel like we’ve known each other forever. I’ve run into people at festivals and other venues whom I’ve met at house concerts and it’s like old home week. It’s a level of intimacy that you don’t reach in a club or concert hall.”

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45 Responses to “Taking it to the stre…um, er, houses?”

  1. IAG, I’m too overloaded to watch the videos tonight, but I read the post and all I can say for now is “AWESOME!” How cool would that be??? I’m looking forward to watching them when I get back Sunday evening.

  2. What a nice surprise to find Charlie here . . love it when insomnia serves a purpose.
    Have been a fan since someone who knows him arranged a listening party on Boogie in fall of 2007. He still drops by the board occasionally.
    Have his Bring On The Storm and Color Me Gone albums and both are played often . . would happily recommend them.
    He has a live album coming out soon and will be distributing it in a relatively new way . . check out “drop cards”. . efficient and kinda cool.

    Was lucky enough to see Charlie last fall at a Canadian jazz & blues festival. It was a great 2-fer for me since he and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals played back to back in the same tent. And like GPN .. he needs to be seen live to be fully appreciated.
    There were 10 of us from stateside plus Charlie’s Canadian friend in our group. She was happy when all 10 of us where blown away by his set .. including my hard-to-impress son and a local blues musician who had high praise for Charlie’s guitar skills.

    Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of good videos of him with a band . . he had a bassist and drummer with him when we saw him. This is a favorite song from a festival about a month earlier.

  3. Opps wrong video. That one is a favorite song and is from the same festival .. but in 2007 . . this is the 2008 one I meant to use from my playlist . .
    Ack ! just noticed a where / were typo too … sheesh

  4. jerseyirish Says:

    Someone introduced me to his music a couple of months ago. Really enjoy his voice and style. I could see Taylor doing justice to these songs they are right in line with his style.

    Off topic did you guys see that WRIR made it to vh1?

    http://www.vh1.com/video/play.jhtml?artist=2372570&vid=378210

    Pretty cool, hopefully SMB will make it there quickly!!! 🙂

    JI

  5. So cool that this guy’s connected to his fanbase!! As for Hicks going the house concert route, don’t hold your breath… ain’t gonna happen.

  6. soulaz Says:

    I totally agree, YKW . . . I don’t see this in Taylor’s future. Although, I can think of a couple people who might like to turn that into their own little cottage industry.

    Like try to get him to sign a contract to do a weekly “gig” in their livingroom. “Friday Night Date Night with Taylor Hicks.”

    Oh, and I really like the way Charlie A’Court sounds. Plus, it’s always interesting to read about the unusual methods artists like him are using to stay connected with their fans. It’s a tough old world in the music business these days . . . if you aren’t Miley or a Jonas, it’s hard to get any love.

    And that’s good news about WRIR and VH1, JI . . . 😀

  7. Going off-topic here, but I’m feeling like Rachel Maddow this morning. I need somebody to talk me down. I would love for someone to set me straight if my reasoning is wrong here.

    I’ve had a concern for several days about the extent to which the existence of two SMBs will skew sales info, and perhaps harm the country music campaign. SMB from The Distance (original version) is the most popular TH song at iTunes. The “single” (the Chuck Ainlay country remix) is #15, with a MUCH shorter popularity bar. I think most purchasers who are new to the song (through AI or radio) are buying the one they can easily find, which is the one associated with The Distance. That is understandable since it was introduced on AI as a song off The Distance. I think some DJs are also identifying it as a song off the album. Problem, of course, is that the remix is NOT off The Distance. When it comes to sales, these two versions are counted separately. If it looks like the country “single” isn’t selling well (because people are buying the other), won’t that hurt the ultimate success of the country radio campaign — rankings, radio play, etc.?

  8. Robin/Rachel, I’m glad you brought this up b/c I was not seeing the forest for the trees, ie. didn’t realize there were TWO (competing?) versions of SMB. I get your concern. If someone who reads and comments here regularly, such as myself, was confused, of course that’s going to trickle down to the general public. And in this case, it sounds like even industry folks, like DJ’s, have misinformation.

    Score another bullseye for the Team Hicks in the Promotions Dept.
    Unbelievable.

    (I know that didn’t really alleviate your concern!! Sorry!! *sigh*)

  9. Charlie A’Court is Nova Scotian and (kitchen) house parties have always been a way of life there. If three or four people gather and there’s a guitar, accordion or a piano you’ve got a party.. or lots of times just people willing to sing. Great love of Celtic music in Nova Scotia & Cape Breton.

  10. YKW Says:

    May 3, 2009 at 10:15 am

    (I know that didn’t really alleviate your concern!! Sorry!! *sigh*)

    You know, it’s very likely this isn’t nearly as big a deal as I’m making it in my own head. I’m probably overthinking it. I’ve been known to do that.

  11. jerseyirish Says:

    Robin, Little confused, don’t both versions count as sale numbers? I was thinking the country mix one got counted as the single release but counted. I hadn’t thought about it the way you mentioned, no you got me thinking!! 🙂

    JI

  12. Didn’t get to go to the fest after all. Forgot I had a kind of important baby shower to attend this afternoon. Oh, well. Still might do HOB tonight, but I don’t like the idea of going in the French Quarter alone. GOING is fine, but going back to my car at midnight or 1 am, not so sure.

    I liked that 3rd song a lot IAG. I’m not as big of a fan of acoustic music as some of you. I can take it in small doses but I’m more of a rock fan so I like lots of beat and bass and electric guitar. And I like blues rock like Derek Trucks. Finally bought that on iTunes yesterday and was just lost in those first two songs for a while. Trying to convince hubby to go over to the Wanee Music Festival in FL in June. They’ll be doing a midnight concert. Would love to see it. That’s the closest they’ll be to us for a long time. Great concert of them here: http://music.att.net/

  13. Don’t forget that SMB was available as a free download for a couple of weeks on Amazon.com. I’m sure that affects the numbers too.

  14. mamaforpeace Says:

    Ah, Rajrae, it’s killing me that you are right there in NO and not taking advantage of jazz fest! I so wanted to go myself! Then again, I understand… I don’t live that far from San Fran, and I don’t feel like I invest enough time to enjoy what it has to offer. And as far as going out tonight, what about taking a taxi? There should be a lot of people around with the festival going on, no?

  15. It is now the least expensive download off the CD at 79 cents when I would think it should be at least 99 cents. Every 20 cents matters. The remix version is 1 min. shorter and that suits radio. Maybe somehow they are all counted the same. I’m happy WRIR is on VH1 and if some of you have the time or inclination you might click on it. I did partake of the BB’s campaign to keep clicking on the Yahoo vid and it has remained one of the most popular for weeks and the combo of that plus his AI appearance may have influenced VH1. I think we will get to see the 7 Mile video within days, a good thing. My heart was warmed when SS requested we vote in some poll the other day. Not that I was surprised because I know she wishes him well. Can’t recall who it was who stated a few weeks ago that she did not and was not going to purchase ‘The Distance’, but if you want music and tours you have to fork up the dough.

  16. Rosie’s House Party featuring Tay, by golly that works for me! I need to check his official height and check out his finger movement on the guitar to prove to Spin he can really play that thing.

  17. jerseyirish Says:

    Rosie, A Tay House Party sounds good!!! 🙂 Somehow I don’t ever see him doing anything like that.

    JI

  18. Sad news, Adam Cook, Davids 36 yr old brother passed away from brain cancer. I recall that emotional night last year when he was in the AI audience to see David perform. David announced his brothers death at the Race for The Core benefit.

  19. rajrae Says:

    Very sad about Adam Cook. My prayers for David and his family. Some people said he seem “dull” when he performed on AI but I believe he had a hard time giving it his all with his brother dying. I can understand that.

    I’ll come to your Tay house party Rosie! I’ll be watching my mail for the invitation. Sure did look and sound like he was playing on SMB at CDN. I saw some post about the AI performance the other night (haters) who said he was not really playing. Hard to tell with all those other instruments.

    Mama4P, it was quite a letdown not to go today. But it’s raining now and I don’t like jazz fest in the rain so it worked out OK. And the shower was something I shouldn’t miss. Just saw this morning’s headlines – Bon Jovi brought in a massive crowd yesterday. They think it’s a record crowd like Dave Mathews brought at the 2001 Fest. One thing my one day at Jazz Fest this year has taught me – there is a lot of good music to be had here in this city and I intend to seek it out more. You think I would already know that living here for 33 years, and I did already know it, but have been so busy raising my family that I let live music fall by the wayside. I’m calling HOB now to see if they have any tickets left and am going to go for it. Just pray I get back home OK. LOL No taxi – would probably cost $50! Parking will probably be $15

  20. mamaforpeace Says:

    Rajrae, good for you. Hope you get to go. I’m sending you all kinds of good thoughts.
    Do you ever go to Frenchman Street? When I was in NO, that was where I found the best music. Such a delight to be standing in the street on a Saturday night and to hear all this fabulous music coming from all those little clubs. In my head, this is one of my “happy places” to go to when I am stressed out!

  21. hicksaholic Says:

    Oh raj
    If Taylor ever gets back to HOB in NO we need to plan a big party. I saw him twice there – my favarite venue( well besides Workplay and maybe Smith’s.

    So sad about Adam Cook. It was great that he got to share in David’s success but for David it must be bittersweet.

  22. jerseyirish Says:

    Rosie, Saw that about David’s brother, he was a brave young man to make the journey to Idol to support his brother. That show was so emotional, I cried throughout. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

    JI

  23. rajrae Says:

    Hicksaholic, he was here twice? I didn’t even know that. I only went to one. (SIGH… I’m SO late to the Taylor Hicks party! LOL)

    I called HOB an hour ago and they said they had tickets. I’m afraid they won’t by the time I get down there, park and walk over. Doors open at 8. Concert at 9. The Jazz Fest crowd might be in the mood to keep the party going. It ends at 7. Weather is bad. I’ll probably get there soaking wet. Told my daughter that if I’m not here in the morning when she gets up for school to call the police and her dad. LOL (He’s over in Houston. He did hurricane relief work Thursday & Friday, then a business conference all weekend.) Just tried to call the venue back to see if they still had tickets and if cameras are allowed. Could not get a live person this time. Hope I don’t go down there for nothing. Should I bring the camera? If I cant’ use it it will be a pain to have with me. It’s not a pocket size. Not a huge DSLR either, but too big for my pocket. Just bringing a sling wallet, no purse.

  24. JumpedtheShark Says:

    Ah, that is so sad. Thanks for posting. Sending prayers to the family. Gosh, life is precious.

  25. mamaforpeace Says:

    Don’t take your camera, Raj, if it will get in the way. Just have a great time:)

  26. spinshack Says:

    …”check out his finger movement on the guitar to prove to Spin he can really play that thing.” Hey Rose, have you seen the folks at that guitar site that hit the emails? They were calling him on the guitar playing or rather lack of it.

    Not saying he’s faking it but he’s not a guitarist from what I’ve seen.

    Concert we’re planning to hit, Dallas Edgefest May 19 line up includes a big fave of mine, Blue October, 311, also Taking Back Sunday, Anberlin and Shinedown! YAY! It’s going to be great.

  27. spinshack Says:

    To amend any hostilities, I still enjoyed his performance the other night very much.

  28. Spin, you know he can play and I think he has improved quite a bit. He sure looked like he had on the CDN video. He has said it isn’t hard for him to play the harp and guitar at the same time, but his fav and best instrument is the harp. I’m still smiling about his AI performance. He is at his best when he knows he has one shot. Also he has been really tweaking WRIR. Now lets see the new video with my favorite vintage Vette.

  29. mamaforpeace Says:

    Totally off topic… sorry. I was watching Cadillac Records yesterday, a flawed movie, but man, what a story… so many great musicians. Beyonce is ok, but she is no Etta James. Nobody but Etta is Etta James! I am so glad I saw her (multiple times, as she came to Tahoe quite often when I lived there) when her voice was still sooo amazing! It made me a bit sad to see her on DWTS lately. It’s good she lost all that weight, would probably not be around anymore if she didn’t, but it took a lot out of her. I’m listening to her right now. Truly one of the greats!

  30. Geeze . . for some reason I thought the link posted to the Derek Trucks concert went to the one on the AT&T site so you all knew about the webcast.

    Thanks to the AT&T webcast I was able to see some of Jazzfest … Irma Thomas, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor and The Neville Brothers. They will archive those and the Saturday ones eventually. http://music.att.net/

    AT&T will also be webcasting from Bonnaroo per a countdown banner I noticed.

    ********************

    rajrae . . .
    was it your post I saw mentioning maybe going to Wanee ?
    Am told the Allmans put on an excellent festival . . check out the line up besides Derek Trucks http://www.waneefestival.com/

    Allmans and Gov’t Mule of course, Little Feat, Susan Tedeschi, Umphrey’s McGee, and my “Do not miss !” recommendation > Grace Potter & the Nocturnals . . . read the fine print under Arc Angels.

    Hope you get to go . . I like living vicariously :]

  31. mamaforpeace Says:

    And just because it’s Sunday night:

  32. Oh, I saw Taylor in NOLA. Fantastic place to be!!

  33. suze4158 Says:

    I can easily see the Taylor – A’court comparison. Love “Walking In Memphis”, as a hometown Memphis girl, myself. (unntil the mid 80’s, at least)
    As far as house concerts, didn’t Taylor do one of these at the Playboy mansion? (he may have just been a guest there, but I am sure there are some house gigs he wouldn’t pass up…)

  34. rajrae Says:

    I made it home in case anyone was worried about me! LOL What an UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE concert! The rain stopped and sky started clearing as I was leaving home a bit after 7. Got down there with no trouble but could not park on the street close to HOB like I hoped. Ended up in a lot a few blocks down (Conti & Decauter.) DID NOT like the idea of walking back there alone at 12 or 1am, especially since the guy parked my car way back of the lot in an area quite secluded. Well, decided I would worry about that when I needed to.

    Walked down to HOB, bought ticket & stood in the entry line for 40 minutes. Was about the 5th person. Everything they said was 30 minutes late – entry, and concert…. but when I went in to the music room, there was hardly anybody and I had choice of spots. I should have just stood by the stage and not budged but I wanted to check things out from the balcony. Ended up on the rail in the center. Great view from up there! Met some really nice people from PA who had been to Jazz Fest Fri, Sat, Sun. They loved it! Oh, met a couple from Chicago in the line too, but they left and went in some other place I didn’t quite understand… OK, so Marva Wright was really good! She’s called the “Blues Queen” of New Orleans, and deservedly so. This lady keyboardist who played with her was fantastic, (looked asian-american), and she had lead & bass guitarist, and two sax players. Really enjoyed Marva!

    Then Susan Tedeschi came on, and she blew it all away. I don’t usually curse but I almost have to to describe her show. F’ing fabulous! I had no idea she was a guitarist – and wow, she’s been getting lessons from her husband (or maybe she taught him?) because she’s mighty, mighty good! Love her singing, her style, and her band is just phenomenal. Just got into the music SO much!

    I went down to the floor for the encore, and being only one person, I scooted in till I was about 3 people-rows back, so that was even better. Encore was GREAT. It sort of sounded like “Use Me” but I don’t think it was. The MUSIC sounded kind of like it but what she sang didn’t. I WISH I knew the name of all the songs she sang!! Tried to get a set list but I was too late – the were gone before I had a turn to ask. Having never heard even one of her songs before tonight, I REALLY wanted one so I could know what I heard and find some of them online. Oh, well…. I saw a guy outside who had one and asked him if I could glance at it. Only thing I remember now is Butterfly and Back to the River.

    After the FANTASTIC encore I went back up to the balcony to try to say goodbye to my new PA friends (and thank Joe for letting me have his spot at the rail-he was quite tall) but they had already left. They were with another couple who I met but didn’t really talk to much. They all seemed to really love their time in New Orleans. First timers.. What a way for them to end their visit! I’m out of adjectives so I’ll end it there. Just I had a great time and I’m so glad I went!!! Oh, yea, it was very nostalgic to see the spot where we stood for my one TH concert. LOL Also, the venue filled up quite nicely by the time Susan performed. I would say 85% full.

    OK, so now the scary part… 1 am, walk back to that lot. Walked VERY quickly. VERY deserted on that side street, and even more isolated in the back of the lot (building walls on three sides) but I hurriedly unlocked it, opened door for light, looked in the rear seats, jumped in then high-tailed it out of there. Was a VERY dangerous spot to be in for a lady all alone. Came home to a very sick daughter who will not be going to school today. Probably to the doctor.

  35. rajrae Says:

    Yes, AH it was me who wants to go to wanee. Yes, I had already seen the great line up and that is another reason I’m so anxious to go. Husband has not replied. Actually, I sent him that link a month or more ago when I first saw it, saying “Wouldn’t it be nice to go to this?” but had forgotten about it until I was looking for DTB’s tour schedule a few days ago. I’ll push for an answer when he returns from Texas on Tuesday. I did not remember Susan T being on the list so am even more excited about the prospect of going! MUST get DH to see her. I know he will love it as much as I did. It’s now 3:03 am! Better try to sleep. At least I don’t have to wake up at 6:20 to make sure daughter is getting ready for school.

  36. rajrae Says:

    Ooops, forgot one part. Before the show part of me was silently hoping DT would show up and sit in for part of the concert. (His schedule did not show any gigs.) Would have certainly been awesome, but when all was said and done the show was just FINE – and I would say complete – as it was. SHE – IS – AMAZING! (Found another adjective 😉 ) I can’t imagine the two of them playing together – I’ll think I have died and gone to heaven. I know they do get their bands together sometimes (Soul Stew Revival) and that is something I would love to see someday.

  37. blueberry Says:

    Like the O’Court version of Walking in Memphis, but have to share my favorite: Marc Cohn, – he wrote the song:

    He gives some brief, but interesting comments before singing this song in January of last year.

  38. rajrae Says:

    Ugh, up at 7:40. Sorry I typed a book last night when I got home.

  39. Stangy Says:

    Oh those videos are awesome. Look at all that damn hair!!! He looks so light on his feet..It’s interesting to watching him like this, pre-Idol. He’s not looking over his shoulder like somone’s after him.

  40. mamaforpeace Says:

    Great for you, Raj! I loved reading your recap…. It was nice to get a taste of what it was like. Thanks!

  41. rajrae . . don’t be sorry, you wrote a very enjoyable “book”

    Big fan of Susan’s music but haven’t managed to see her live yet . . fixing that soon and Shemekia Copeland is appearing with her . . SC is billed as guesting not opening so expecting / hoping they perform some music together. Have seen Shemekia twice and love her . . am thinking the venue will need a new stage after those two get done !!

    I know they do get their bands together sometimes (Soul Stew Revival) and that is something I would love to see someday.

    Adding a loud Me Too !!!!

    Hope you get to go to Wanee . . it seems like a good chance for a SSR appearance doesn’t it ? . Maybe the possibility of seeing a relatively rare performance will be the carrot to get a Go from hubby. Good luck.

    ************

    blueberry . .
    thanks – hadn’t seen that one with his comments before . . and as much as I like Charlie, Mr. Cohn is my favorite too. Not a hard and fast rule by any means but in general . . there is just something “extra” about singer/songwriters performing their own music . . imho anyways.

  42. Oh, mama, just LOVED that Etta James & Dr. John clip. Wonderful!

    Here’s one of Marva Wright. A couple of the songs she did last night were even better than this but I can’t find much video. There is another called “Bluesiana Mama” that is good.

  43. Very interesting comments, Blueberry. I might have to do a post on that someday.

    And damn, Marc Cohn is good, isn’t he?

  44. hey all,
    thanks for including my stuff here in your blog. Always nice to be noticed.
    All the best!

  45. Thanks for giving us some great music to listen to!!

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