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!