Foothills singer finds a musical home in Mexico
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Saturday, Jul 05, 2014 06:00 am
An award-winning musician formerly of Turner Valley is bringing a piece of Alberta’s identity to a resort city on the west coast of Mexico.
Canadian country singer/songwriter Brent McAthey, also known as the Brenster, is enjoying great success with The Brenster and Carrum Show in Mazatlán, produced by himself and partner in life and music Tanya Carrum for two years.
The show is a “Vegas style” monthly concert series that puts Canadian country artists on stage at the Playa Mazatlán Beach Hotel from October to May.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be able to have a vision of producing a show like that and having it come to fruition and the fact the artists are excited about it,” he said.
McAthey secured an impressive line-up of country singers for the show’s third season, bringing such big Canadian country musicians as Patricia Conroy, Michelle Wright and Beverley Mahood to the stage.
“These are artists I’ve worked with and recorded with,” he said. “I wanted to give something back to them for treating me so good.
“Down the road I’m hoping there’s going to be some artists I haven’t even met, maybe some American acts as well.”
Foothills country music fans might remember McAthey from his performances at the Black Diamond Hotel, The River Roadhouse Bar & Grill in High River and the Longview Hotel, as well as various other venues across the foothills.
The two-time recipient of the Alberta Recording Industry Association’s Alberta’s Male Recording Artist of the Year in the 1990s grew up in Calgary and has been singing professionally his entire adult life.
McAthey released seven albums with four top 20 hits including “Wait for the Sun” and “Chevy Blue Eyes.”
More recently, Brenster was awarded the Mazzie Award for Best Musician of the Year in Mazatlán in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
McAthey now spends most of his time on stage under the sunny skies of Mazatlán, a city he fell in love with 30 years ago and found himself spending more time there ever since.
“I thought I’ve got to figure out a way to make a living there if I want to spend all this time in the sun,” he said.
McAthey did just that. He connected with country music fans from across Canada and the United States in Mazatlán and began performing weekly, returning north in the summer to perform for his fans across Canada and the United States.
The show, as well as Brenster’s Beach Bash at Diego’s Beach House Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. from mid-October to May, began getting attention from Mazatlán officials and in 2013 McAthey was appointed the State of Sinoloa’s official tourism ambassador by Mazatlán’s Tourism Board.
“Having the government believe in what I’m doing I’m pretty proud of that,” he said.
McAthey works with the tourism board and Mazatlán Hotel Association to get North Americans south to vacation in Mazatlán.
“There’s so much culture there and there’s a ton of music,” he said. “We are trying to bring awareness of what a great place Mazatlán is.”
McAthey is changing things up this month by bringing Mazatlán officials to the Calgary Stampede for a taste of western Canadian culture.
On July 5, McAthey will participate in a private function at the Ramada Hotel in downtown Calgary that will bring Sinaloa’s tourism secretary and governor, Mazatlán’s mayor and representatives from the Mazatlán Hotel Association together with 150 travel agents, tour operators, airline representatives and Calgary Stampede officials in a Mazatlán Stampede Fiesta.
Even the Calgary Stampede Board of Directors President Bob Thompson will be in attendance to “white-hat” the governor, McAthey said.
“It will pull all the travel people together,” he said. “It will give Mazatlán a bigger perspective of tourism.”
McAthey and Carrum are taking the opportunity to get on stage during the Calgary Stampede with a short version of The Brenster and Carrum Show at the Ramada Hotel July 4 and July 7 to the 11 from noon to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
There is no cost to watch the show.
For more information about The Brenster and Carrum Show go to www.countryinmazatlan.com .
To learn more about Mazatlan go to www.gomazatland.com