A life filled with music brings joy to Craig Smith.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Smith, 49, local musician and producer.
Q: For how long have you lived in Collingwood?
A: Since 2001, so for almost 20 years.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I’m from Kitchener/Waterloo originally. I’m the oldest of four boys, with a single mom.
I came here because I was married and my wife, Paula, was from Collingwood.
I was also at a stage of life where I was looking for something new.
Twenty years ago, Collingwood was still kind of a small-ish town. It’s been pretty wild to see it grow.
I’m a musician and I’ve always been involved with a lot of things in Collingwood. I helped run Crow. Bar & Variety as stage manager. (NOTE: The restaurant closed in Oct. 2020)
I’ve played for a lot of different causes, in different venues and bands.
Q: Have you always known you wanted to be a musician?
A: My first instrument was drums, which I had as a kid. I progressed to learning a whole bunch of different instruments.
Now, the guitar is my main instrument. I sing and play guitar as a solo performer.
I’ve played in bands and toured in different parts of the world.
Now, I produce music and run a studio. I mostly do mixes for artists now.
I play in a band called Ontarians, which is a cool project. All the members are scattered around; some are in Sault Ste. Marie and one guy is in Texas. All the members are from Ontario.
I’m also taking over a rock school in September called Marsh Street Rocks in Clarksburg.
Q: Do you enjoy teaching?
A: Yes. I love mentoring. At Crow I had an open mic night on Thursdays. Everyone would come out from kids to adults. Mentoring is something I’ve always loved to do; see people grow and get more confident.
It’s music-focused but it’s also a life thing when you connect with something you love to do. It becomes something bigger than just teaching people how to play in bands.
Q: You’re also in a band called Motown and Marley. Can you tell me how that band came about?
A: I met Marcia Alderson when she was golfing and I was working at a golf pro shop about 10 years ago. She was at a gig I was playing and I started inviting her out because I knew she was a singer. It organically grew into us playing duo shows.
Bam, our percussion player, came on board. So then, we became a trio.
Now we have Kyle Dreany as a bass player.
We started writing and we have six songs ready for an EP we’re going to release.
Q: Do the different bands you play with have different sounds?
A: Yes, totally. As a solo artist, I do indie, alternative rock and folk. Some country.
Ontarians is an alternative folk band, but a different sort of thing than I would do because I have another songwriting partner.
Motown and Marley is basically Motown and Bob Marley music. That’s how it started as a concept. We make them different. There’s a certain reverence you need to pay to classic songs.
We’re coming into our own as a band and are finding our sound.
Q: Do you have any other interests outside of music?
A: My hobby and my profession are both music. (laughs) So yeah, I do, but music is such a dominant factor in my life.
I love spending time outdoors with my girlfriend Veronica, so being on Georgian Bay is a gift unto itself. It’s how I recharge.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?
A: I have two amazing daughters: Sophie, 16 and Jolie (JoJo), 19.
JoJo has become a pretty great singer/songwriter herself by coming to Crow’s open mic nights and just hanging around with her dad.
They’re amazing kids.
For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every Saturday. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email email@example.com.