Prairie Oyster front man taking Music Barn stage

Tribune-Post Staff
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Russell deCarle, a founding member of Prairie Oyster, will be performing at The Music Barn on June 1.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – The front man for Prairie Oyster, Russell deCarle, is making his way back onto the touring circuit and will be opening The Music Barn on June 1 from 2-4 p.m.

One of the biggest voices in Canada, deCarle is stopping in Sackville for the first time since releasing his first solo record, Under the Big Big Sky, in October 2010. Rounding out the trio is widely acclaimed multi-instrumentalists Steve Briggs (guitar) and Denis Keldi (accordion/keyboard).

After spending some alone time with his acoustic guitar, deCarle was finally fired up enough to strike out on his own in the studio.

"For decades, people have been asking for a solo record, but I never thought I was ready and the band always satisfied the musical part of my life," said deCarle.

deCarle pays homage to some of his all-time favourite artists with this album, while remaining simultaneously fresh and familiar with his mix of blues, jazz and R&B-tinged western swing.

deCarle doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, least of all himself. Dubbed ‘the voice of Prairie Oyster’ he is a founding member of this multi-platinum, Juno award-winning Canadian band. Through Prairie Oyster’s on-and-off 37-year tenure, deCarle helped stamp the Canadian country roots scene as second to none. But in September 2010, the Ontario-based singer-songwriter branched out, releasing his first solo album, Under the Big Big Sky, on the Fontana North label. Unlike the homogenized music playing on commercial radio stations today, Under the Big Big Sky reflects deCarle’s personal taste, which runs to a mix of blues, jazz and R&B tinged with Western Swing.

In recent years, however, deCarle has focused on his music away from Prairie Oyster. As a teen, he was influenced particularly by radio. Compared to today’s offering on the Top 40, he says in his youth music on the radio was far less homogenized than it is today. Then, the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin could be heard alongside the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and even Buck Owens and Patsy Cline.

It should come as no surprise these artists conspired to make a very eclectic artist in their impressionable listener. In that time, he has relished the opportunity to explore styles away from the country sound. “Most musicians don’t put labels on it,” he says of his musical style. “Labels are more of an industry thing. For most musicians a song is a song. My favourite country singer of all time would be Ray Charles. His approach to country music was really amazing – it’s all soul.”

Looking at his solo output thus far, however, he describes it as “more of a torchy-bluesy affair”, particularly on his first solo album launched four years ago called Under the Big, Big Sky. Doing my own thing, the difference is that it is absolutely my eye. I get to present it how I want to present it, deCarle states that, “Most of my musical life, I have been very satisfied being in the band, but now I must admit I am really having a ball doing my own thing and playing with different people.”Although he'd initially intended Under the Big Big Sky to be more heavily in favour of covers than original material, the more deCarle played and wrote, the more he found himself falling naturally into a style that marked a definite, if unintentional, departure from his past work; it soon became clear that the balance of the record would feature his own material. Come out and see Russell live in this intimate performance.

The Music Barn will round out its season with the following performances:

– June 8 – 7-9 p.m. – The Edlerly Brothers) a tribute to the Everly Brothers

– June 14 – 2-8 p.m. – Tantramar Breast Cancer Support Group Fundraiser

– June 15– 2-4 p.m. – Fraser Newcombe & Down East Trio

– July 27 – 2-4 p.m. – Alan Jeffries & 50 Shades of Blue

– Aug 3 – 2-4 p.m. – Close to Home

– Sept 7– 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. – Spinney Brothers

– Sept 21 – 2-4 p.m. – Closing performance by Rustic Harmony & Guests.

For more information, 902-694-3353.

Organizations: Beatles, Rolling Stones, Edlerly Brothers Everly Brothers

Geographic location: SACKVILLE, Canada, Fontana North

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