"Montreal's Gain is Collingwood's Loss" (GUEST POST by George Czerny)

I received an email this morning from George Czerny, who attended Austin McCarthy's EP Release show last night at Crow.  He sent me this wonderful story about the evening to pass along to everybody! - Laura

 Austin McCarthy's EP 'Reverie' is now available on iTunes and Spotify. 

Austin McCarthy's EP 'Reverie' is now available on iTunes and Spotify. 

Montreal's gain is Collingwood's loss.


Austin McCarthy is a very talented guitarist and singer.

Now, add composer to that list of talents.
Austin McCarthy, who once attended Collingwood Collegiate Institute is now studying finance at Concordia University in Montreal.

But he's also making a name for himself in music.

That started in Collingwood, where he has musical roots including his dad Mike McCarthy and mother Erica Prinn-McCarthy, who perform as the Mike McCarthy Band.
Mother Erica and father Mike, complete with his trademark cowboy hat, were virtually glowing with pride at the Crow Bar and Variety this evening as their son Austin took to the stage at one end of the restaurant. It was time to release “AMC Reverie”, a CD which carries five numbers.

On the CD, Austin McCarthy is accompanied by Carl Rabinowitz on bass and Mike Giles on drums.

This evening, performing live, Austin was accompanied by Mike Giles on drums, Dave Giles on guitar and Trevor Robertson on bass.

The Crow Bar and Grill is on Huron Street, right across the street from the BMO Bank of Montral. The Crow is one of the newer restaurants in Collingwood and is making a name for itself in a positive way. We have been there to dine with friends twice and enjoyed it both times.


This evening, my wife Nancy and I got to the Crow for 9 p.m., to find it packed. We should have made reservations, but with Christmas being as busy as it was, we took our chances.
For a little while, the friendly hostess Dierdre, had us at one end of the bar, which gave us a good view of the business in the kitchen, as well as an overview of the restaurant which has large windows at the Huron Street end.
Then, Dierdre found us a table for two, closer to the Huron Street end of the restaurant.

At 9.20 p.m., the sound of a packed house of patrons was a testament to the good time they were having. Then, within a few minutes after Austin McCarthy and his fellow musicians took to the stage, the sound of patrons dimmed and the sound of music flooded the restaurant.

There's a sign on the wall above the musicians' stage. It's a red ring with blue letters inside the circle. The letters glow as a neon message: “Music Saves”. That was for certain, as Austin McCarthy did not take long to find the frets during a solo part of his first number and ran off with an applause-grabbing riff. That was just the beginning of the musical fun!

An hour latter, Nancy and I had drinks along with a delicious pizza. As we ate, the room rocked with Austin McCarthy's music. We bought a couple of CDs from one of Austin's friends who was circulating through the room.


Austin McCarthy, 21, has a website, as does the Mike McCarthy Band with which he has played in Downtown Collingwood at such events as the Local Live Lunch and the Downtown Collingwood Farmers' Market.

Now, Austin is making more and more of a name for himself. In Montreal, he has a new bass player lined up and five gigs in the offing. All this while he attends Concordia!

Nancy and I enjoy music, local musicians and helping to support and promote local talent whenever we can. But we have forty, or fifty, years of age on most of the patrons at the Crow earlier this evening.


So, by 10.30 p.m., we were heading home just as Austin McCarthy picked up an acoustic guitar and did a solo rendition of a number by the “Boss”, Bruce Springsteen.


Springsteen will be playing in New York on March 29, 2018. The “Boss” is already famous. But given time, my betting is that Austin McCarthy, who's friendly and modest any time I have seen him, will be following in Springsteen's footsteps. 

My guess is that as I write this, The Crow is still rocking and everybody is loving being “saved musically” by Austin McCarthy and his backup band. He hasn't left for Montreal yet!

Austin McCarthy releasing NEW TUNES

Austin McCarthy is a known name in the local music scene.  An awesome performer and songwriter, and a member of the very musical McCarthy clan alongside his folks, Erica and Mike McCarthy.  He goes to school in Montreal, but still manages to find the time to play a bunch of shows in Collingwood and area whenever he's in town.  And, remarkably, has even found the time to record and release a new EP - Reverie - at Villa Sound in Singhampton.  EP Release Party is FRIDAY NIGHT (December 29th) at Crow Bar & Variety in Collingwood.  Here's a Q&A I did with Austin.


LC: The album sounds great!  I love the combo of funk/disco type grooves with this fabulous songwriting.  On the bio on your site it says some of your biggest inspirations are Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, and John Mayer, and I totally hear all of those influences in your sound.  What's your songwriting process like?  Do you come up with the words first or the riffs/chord progressions?

AM: First of all, thank you! I’m still figuring out my songwriting process to be honest. Sometimes I come up with a chord progression and add in lyrics after the fact. Sometimes I start with a line (that usually determines the direction of the song) and then I add a chord progression on top of it. One thing I know for certain is that all of the songs are influenced by situations/experiences I have come across.


LC: Who else plays on this album? Have you been working with the other musicians for a while?

AM: I brought Mike Giles (drums) and Carl Rabinowitz (Bass) in for the recordings. Mike and I were playing together over this past summer and I saw Carl play many times and knew he would be a great addition to this EP. Both Mike and Carl are fantastic guys to work with.


LC: Tell me a bit about the recording experience at Villa Sound.  Who mixed and who mastered the album?

AM: The four days I spent in the studio were some of my favourite days spent during this past summer. My favourite part was experiencing the process of studio work. This studio experience will definitely help with my writing process in the future. Adam Fair was the mixing engineer and Noah Mintz mastered the album.


 LC: It seems like outside of school, you're taking every chance you can get to gig!  In the summer your name was popping up everywhere, and now for Christmas break it's happening again!  How do you balance between your studies and your music?

AM: It’s tough, especially around exam time! I normally try and get my work done during the day so I have all night to play. I’m pretty great at procrastinating, so if I pick up the guitar before my school work is done I’m normally up till 2am trying to finish it. 


LC: What have been some of the highlights of your music career so far?

AM: Opening up for Kim Mitchell a couple years ago was definitely a highlight. Also, this past summer playing 40 shows was incredible. Recently, I have started a new project in Montreal and we have some dates coming up in the new year. I guess I can foreshadow this as a highlight. 


LC: Who would be your all time dream artist to perform with or do a double billing with?

AM: That is a really tough question. Being on stage with the likes of B.B. King would have been something else, but we both know that’s impossible now. Being billed with John Mayer would be a time for sure. 


LC: Lastly, where can people hear and purchase the album once it's released?

AM: It will be released on iTunes and Spotify on December 22nd! Looking forward to finally getting this EP out to the public.


Thank you SO MUCH Austin for taking the time to share some insights with me!  Check out the new EP below, and come in from the cold at Crow Bar & Variety on Friday night to hear him live! 

Apple Music:



GIVEAWAY TIME: A Skydiggers' Christmas!

ONE WEEK TODAY, incredible Canadian roots rock band The Skydiggers are coming to town!  Meaford Hall, to be specific.  And we're celebrating by giving away TWO TICKETS to the show for one very lucky person!!!

Share this blog post on Facebook or Instagram and tag @Route26ontario to enter.  One entry per person.  Contest closes Sunday, December 10th at 11:59PM.

We'll randomly draw on MONDAY, DECEMBER 11th at 7PM.

It's going to be an awesome show full of warmth and love and happiness and great tunes.  Huge thanks to Inside the Music for putting on this show.

 The Skydiggers are comin' to town!

The Skydiggers are comin' to town!

Here's a little more info from the band:

For over 25 years Skydiggers' friends and fans have reunited over the holidays at Toronto’s
Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to celebrate the season to the soundtrack of the band's distinctive
rootsy Christmas tunes and Skydiggers' classics, and this year they're taking it on the road.
"We've realized that the most moving moments of the season are more than just expressions of
glad tidings and comfort and joy,” says Skydigger Andy Maize. “That there are moments of
melancholy, regret and truth that are, in their own way, as much a part of the Christmas
experience as any joyous carol. We want to put on a show that both celebrates the season
while leaving room for quieter, more personal moments."

As an added bonus, this season's show will feature songs from the band's new album, Warmth
of the Sun. The 12-track album, which reflects the group’s elemental guitar-based origins and
plaintive layered vocal style, arrives in a time of confusion, anger and division as an eloquent
and vital plea for compassion, honesty, healing and reckoning with the truth, rendered in the
group’s classic folk-rock style.

“I don’t think it was intentional, but I can hear a thread on these songs about reaching out, being
honest with yourself and making a connection with people, in order to get to a better place.
That’s definitely a goal for us, it always is,” says singer Andy Maize.

The result can only be described as a classic Skydiggers album, one that can sit shoulder to
shoulder alongside milestone records in the group’s catalogue like Restless, Just Over This
Mountain and Road Radio. “It’s a privilege to have had this opportunity to share our music with
people for so many years,” says Finlayson. “Warmth of the Sun reflects our lives right now, and
we’re lucky to share it with people and let it become part of their lives.”

Courtney Dubois' First EP 'Geode' is Beautiful

I think it's pretty easy to tell when someone has a natural gift.  For Courtney Dubois, it's singing, songwriting, and connecting with her audience.  I heard Courtney perform at Collingwood's Live & Original Music Series earlier this year, and even in a big cold arena she was able to command attention and create a sense of intimacy.  She only played a couple songs, but it was clear immediately that this is her life and her passion.  Her songs are thoughtful, personal, yet universal, and her voice is sweet and soulful.  She sounded wonderful.  I'm always overwhelmed when I see someone like that live for the first time.  I've been stalking her on Instagram ever since.

courtney dubois.jpg

Courtney has been working with Atrial Records out of Barrie, ON on her first ever EP, 'Geode'.  She describes the concept:

"For those who don’t know what a geode is, it’s a hollow sphere-like mineral that on the outside looks like an ordinary rock, but on the inside is lined with different kinds of minerals that over time have been crystallized.

I decided to title my EP GEODE when I heard the geode compared to an artist in search of their hidden gems in a Hayao Miyazaki film called Whisper of the Heart. It’s a beautiful movie, and an analogy I fell in love with.

I’ve geared my EP towards this geode concept, keeping the songs raw and unpolished, and allowing them to exist as they are." - 
Taken from Courtney Dubois' Bio at http://www.atrialrecords.com/

The album is revealing about her life and experiences, while retaining enough ambiguity that we can all relate to her words.  My favourite picks are "All in One Day" and "Chasing Deer".  But enough of me obsessing, have a listen for yourself:

YEAH.  It's so good, right?!

new music night collingwood mike charette courtney dubois.jpg

You can catch Courtney Dubois LIVE tomorrow night at Simcoe Street Theatre.  I can't wait to hear her again.  Mike Charette, another Collingwood Live & Original alumni member, will also be performing tunes from his latest album!  It's going to be a really awesome evening.

More details and tickets here: https://whatsonsimcoestreet.com/theatre-events/