Austin McCarthy spent much of his life looking up to Jim Cuddy.
That’s why he’s so excited to meet Cuddy at eye level and on the same stage in a couple weeks.
McCarthy was born and raised in Collingwood. He grew up with the soundtrack of Canadian greats like Blue Rodeo, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot and The Tragically Hip. When he picked up the guitar, it was to play songs by those artists.
So, it was definitely not a case of 'bad timing' when he received a call from his parents asking if he’d like to open for Jim Cuddy.
“I grew up listening to Blue Rodeo,” said McCarthy. “In Grade 11 the song Bad Timing spoke true to how I was feeling ... It’s going to be really cool to share the stage with him.”
The Austin McCarthy Band, which now includes Nico Boog on bass, Ben Mayo-Goldberg on Drums and Katie Paradis on saxophone, will be performing at the Jim Cuddy fundraiser concert in support of Conserve Our Rural Environment (CORE) on Aug. 5 at Lyric Pond (Mulmur).
McCarthy met his new bandmates in Montreal where he attends Concordia University in the finance program.
He said he’s recently been honing his original sound to the singer/songwriter, pop vein, and he’s enjoyed collaborating with a band.
“When you play with other players that are as good as these guys, it makes for a really interesting sound,” said McCarthy. “We’re all just really enjoying each other’s company and the music that we’re making.”
McCarthy said the plan for August 5 is to play about 70 per cent original songs and the rest will be funk and blues covers. He will not be attempting any Blue Rodeo tunes, even though he likes to play those songs regularly.
“I couldn’t touch one of those, not when Jim Cuddy is there,” he said.
Tickets for the CORE fundraiser show are $200 for adults, $25 for children 5-11, and $75 for students 12-20 years old. The event includes a catered buffet dinner by The Flying Chestnut and a complimentary bar sponsored by Creemore Springs and Meglomaniac Winery.
The show starts at 6 p.m. and the music lineup includes Jim Cuddy, Andy Maize, Anne Lindsay, Colin Cripps, Bazil Donovan, Glenn Milchem, Devin Cuddy and Austin McCarthy. The event goes on rain or shine (there’s a tent), and tickets are available for purchase online here.
McCarthy and his band will also be performing a show on Aug. 4 at Gibson and Co. in Collingwood from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. There are 70 tickets available for this show, and they can be purchased at Gibson and Co. Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to midnight and Sundays 9-5 p.m.