Charlie A'Court may be a two-time East Coast Music Award winner, but he paid his dues getting there. When the Truro blues man arrived in Halifax fresh-faced at 21, he struggled to make rent.
"I spent that whole summer busking and that was the money I'd live off," he explains. "Sometimes people would bring a sandwich and sometimes people would bring money and I never ever forgot that."
Things picked up when people who heard A'Court busking suggested he start playing open mics at the old Tickle Trunk. Soon he had regular gigs lined up, and the rest is history.
Or not. A'Court will return to his humble roots, busking around town August 24 to 28 to raise funds for Halifax Housing Help, a non-profit organization facing a federal-funding gap of several months.
"We're kind of running on whatever donations we've got in," says program coordinator Darcy Harvey.
Halifax Housing Help identifies and tackles single people's barriers to housing.
"One woman, she has a gambling addiction, so her pay is direct-deposited into our trustee account," says Harvey, giving an example of the group's work. The organization assists by managing that woman's finances, earmarking money for necessities, such as rent and groceries.
A'Court says "the sky is the limit," in regards to how much he can raise for the organization. "I'm pretty confident that if we have decent weather that we can do a fair bit of good," he says.
A'Court will busk each day at 8am on the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry, at noon in front of the Spring Garden Road Library and in Parade Square at 5pm. He promises to play some of his busking favourites, such as "Wish You Were Here," as well as originals.