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  • Writer's pictureStevie Connor

REVIEW: A'Court, Spiegel and Vinnick - Oakville Centre For The Performing Arts, Ontario, Canada

A'Court, Spiegel and Vinnick

Three of the most recognizable names on the Blues & Roots scene in Canada, Australia, and indeed internationally, Suzie Vinnick, Charlie A’Court and Lloyd Spiegel invited us to join them for their performance in Oakville at the AEG Liebherr Auditorium, which is part of the Oakville Centre For The Performing Arts.

Billed as a Coast to Coast Roots ‘n’ Blues Kitchen Party, featuring an evening of songs, stories and laughter, the evening certainly did not disappoint.

As solo artists, they have accumulated over 60 international awards in roots and blues and have commanded festival and theatre stages across the globe. They bring together their combined experience and their personal friendship to this tour, showcasing not just their individual talents, but a collaborative spirit and mutual respect that delivered a unique performance.

For those that may not be familiar with their names, I have added a short bio of each artist to the bottom of this review, for now, I'd like to start by saying what a wonderful venue for a show, a beautiful theatre, the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming, situated to the west of Toronto, on the shores of Lake Ontario, Oakville is a beautiful town to visit, and they are very supportive of the Arts.

I'm extremely familiar with each artist as individual performers, as they have been featured by many of the international radio hosts on our sister platform, Blues & Roots Radio, in fact Lloyd Spiegel was a recipient of Blues & Roots Radio's 'Album Of The Year Award', a few years ago.

As well as being magnificent musicians, each of the artists can tell a good story, so I was interested to see how they would all fit together on stage, and what the format would be.

The show opened with Suzie Vinnick on bass guitar taking centre stage, singing a mesmerizing blues song, then, as she headed into the second verse, a powerful voice took over from the back of the theatre, and, as a figure descended towards the stage the audience could make out it was Lloyd Spiegel who joined Vinnick, the audience were wondering where Charlie A'Court was, upon hitting the third verse, Charlie's voice suddenly rang out from the opposite side at the back of the theatre, and he too, ascended to the stage, it was quite the entrance, and set the show up nicely for what was to come.

The show proceeded with a couple of songs performed by the trio from their self titled album, which was released in May 2023, the stage was then given to the individual artists to showcase their own material, taking a couple of songs each, before the ensemble took us to the break. The second set had all three performing songs individually from their album whilst being accompanied by the others, it was very refreshing to hear a full performance encompassing a variety of genres and styles, I found it very entertaining as they switched around, and, the guitar work from each artist was absolutely scintillating, at times jaws were dropping all over the theatre.

Each of the three musicians has a knack for spinning a good yarn between songs, just like any skilled bard. Their anecdotes kept the audience engaged, drawing them into the music with relatable and often humorous tales. It's a talent that adds depth and connection to their performances, making each show more than just a series of songs — they took us on a journey shared through their storytelling.

The format of the show will appeal to a broad range of audience, as previously stated, there was a varied number of genres covered, from Roots to Blues, Soul and R'n'B to Funk, and when you throw in some seriously funny tales, it was a thoroughly entertaining performance from all three.

I look forward to seeing any one of the three perform individually in upcoming months, and will definitely be getting myself back to another one of these shows by the trio. Highly recommended entertainers !

Planted at the crossroads of roots and soul, Charlie A’Court possesses a mighty voice, fierce guitar work and contemporary songwriting that is felt by fans across Canada and beyond. His latest album, When Country Gets The Blues, was nominated for Country Recording of The Year at the 2022 East Coast Music Awards. Often stylistically compared to mentors like Eric Clapton and Otis Redding, Charlie has always been recognized for exploring his musical horizons. As a five-time ECMA winner and eight-time Nova Scotia Music Award winner Charlie has earned awards for Blues, Pop, and R&B/Soul Recordings of the Year, and on multiple occasions been recognized as Entertainer of the Year. A’Court has also received multiple Maple Blues Award nominations including Male Vocalist and Songwriter of the Year.

Blending blues with soul and folk, Australian blues musician Lloyd Spiegel’s musical flair is an emotional and visual roller coaster. His masterful command of the guitar, both dynamic and expressive, works in tandem with his powerful, full-bodied vocals to deliver a show full to the brim with dazzling technical wizardry, grounded storytelling and wicked humour. There is no doubt that Spiegel is first and foremost, a performer. Whether performing original numbers or honouring those who have inspired him, Spiegel’s deep connection to the blues and profound respect for its traditions are at the core of everything he does. The ultimate goal of forging himself a link in the chain of blues music’s evolution has driven him to study the music that grew from his chosen genre and inject it back into the blues style to create a new version of modern blues. Simply put, the blues is the canvas he uses, but his style is built from vast musical influences, which have challenged him to push to the edge and see what happens – etching his own mark on the genre.

A Saskatoon native transplanted to the Niagara Region of Ontario, Suzie Vinnick is the proud owner of a gorgeous voice, prodigious guitar and bass chops, and an engagingly candid performance style. Her career has seen triumph after triumph. Among her most recent successes: being awarded the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival 2019 Special Recognition Award and being nominated for a 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award for Producer of the Year with her co-producer, Mark Lalama. Suzie achieved finalist status in the Solo/Duo Category at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN; received the 2012 CBC Saturday Night Blues Great Canadian Blues Award and the 2012 SiriusXM Canada Blues Artist of the Year. Suzie has won 11 Maple Blues Awards, 1 Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Vocalist of the Year and is a 3X Juno Nominee. Suzie has toured nationally with Downchild, Stuart McLean’s The Vinyl Café, the John McDermott Band and she has performed for Canadian Peacekeepers in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf. She was also the voice of Tim Horton’s for 5 years.


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