Mike McCarthy Duo at Gustav’s This Week

The Mike McCarthy duo, consisting of Mike and his wife Erica Prinn-McCarthy, will be playing at Gustav’s in Collingwood this Saturday, April 8th.

Erica and Mike have been performing together since 1991, when they met.  Erica was a manager at The Montreal Bistro and Jazz Club in Toronto when Mike’s band was booked there.  She joined the band on vocals shortly afterward and they became a couple in life as well, soon starting a family.

“I missed the interview when I was expecting,”notes Erica, “and that’s how it became The Mike McCarthy Band.

They had a couple of bands in Toronto, but the present band came into being not long after they moved to Collingwood in 1993.  With a number of corporate gigs in Toronto, they lived here but went to the big smoke to play.  It wasn’t until they were asked to open the annual Ride For Sight show that they began to play in Collingwood.  The annual concert ran for years with Collingwood as the destination for five or six thousand bikers who rode out of the International Centre in Mississauga and converged on the grounds of the Great Northern Exhibition after cruising along the lakeshore.  Along with special events for bikers, the weekend always featured big name performers and The Mike McCarthy band was the opener for six years.  It broke the ice for them in the area and they have played a number of local venues ever since with some regularity.  Their three kids grew up with mom and dad playing in the band and their youngest son, Austin McCarthy, has become the focus of their attention as he has developed into a songwriter and guitarist with a fast growing reputation.

Austin McCarthy

Rising Singer-songwriter Austin McCarthy plays with the family band when he can

Erica encouraged Austin to get formal music instruction on the piano when he was young and, when he said he wanted to switch to guitar she enrolled him in Shane Cloutier’s music school.  By the time he turned sixteen, Shane had asked him to teach as well.  In 2014 Austin won the Collingwood Idol contest and when he was seventeen the first song he wrote, “If You Look” finished Top 5 in the CBC/Canada Trust Rock You Campus contest.  He is in his final year of the Finance Program at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University and while on campus he plays regularly performing his original material.  When he comes home for the summer, he joins his parents’ band.

The Mike McCarthy Band is a six-piece known for their ability to excite audiences with their roots-rock and blues repertoire.  Mike and Erica McCarthy are co-leaders of the band. Bruce Campbell on drums, has been with the band since 1995. Len Fligg on bass is a long-standing member of the band and Austin has taken on lead guitar when he’s home.  Steve Hanmore is the band’s regular lead guitarist.  John Panchyshyn has added saxophone off and on but  Dennis McAndrew has been the band’s mainstay on sax and/or keys this year. Local talents Mike Giles and Nick Liefl sometimes sit in on drums and bass .  The full complement will be on hand this Canada Day when the band headlines Collingwood’s big Canada 150 party at Millenium Park.

Between now and then a family pilgrimage to Nashville is planned for May.  Austin already had a songwriters’ workshop lined up and they are hoping to his a few open stages while there, and make some new friends.

Between band gigs, Mike and Erica will be showing up here and there as a duo, and they are looking forward to making new friends this Saturday night at Gustav’s.

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