Russell deCarle leads his trio

Russell deCarle leads his trio

Prairie Oyster frontman finds a pearl touring with his trio

The Russell deCarle Trio plays the next Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society concert at the Vernon Lodge, Oct. 21.

  • Oct. 16, 2016 7:00 a.m.

By Paul Tessier

For The Morning Star

The road has been a long one for Russell deCarle, formerly of the multi-platinum, Juno award winning, country-roots group Prairie Oyster.

He’s now been a touring musician for the past 44 years.

“I went on the road when I was 19,” recalled deCarle. “When I was in my early 30s, I realized, ‘I guess this is what I do for a living.’”

Along the way, deCarle has opened for Merle Haggard on a cross-Canada tour, was a featured guest on Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café Christmas Tour in 2008 and won two SOCAN Song of the Year awards.

DeCarle will be bringing his live show to Vernon as part of the Russell deCarle Trio Friday, Oct. 21 at the Vernon Lodge. Expect things to swing big time.

“I’ll be delving into torchy western-swing roots music, country-jazzy stuff with a real solid groove and all sorts of swing-jazz influences,” said deCarle, elaborating on the big groove his trio will be putting down in their live show.

“We have a huge groove for a trio. This band is a big groove machine. Those guys can solo like crazy, but we concentrate on the groove first. It’s a real big sound for a trio.”

The trio consists of deCarle on rhythm guitar, bass and vocals. He gets enthusiastic when talking about his two long-time musicians in the trio.

“They’re both really two of the finest musicians in the country,” said deCarle.

“Steve Briggs is a brilliant guitar player in every style he chooses to play. He also has a band in Toronto called the Bebop Cowboys, a great western-swing unit that I get to sing in as well.

“Denis Keldie has played on at least a couple hundred albums over the years for all sorts of folks. He’s known as a master of the Hammond organ as well as the accordion. He’s been at it even longer than I have and both these guys are masters at what they do.”

DeCarle expects folks to recognize a lot of tunes on the show, perhaps even some Prairie Oyster classics.

“I do a few of the Oyster tunes, not too much but a couple of the songs that I wrote for Prairie Oyster that were big hits will come up in the show.”

DeCarle is looking forward to a big turn-out and lots of people getting up and dancing.

“We’ve played lots of dances with this trio and it’s fantastic. I love playing dance music and seeing people have a great time.”

The Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society presents The Russell deCarle Trio Friday, Oct. 21 at the Vernon Lodge. Tickets are $25, $20 for members. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through,, Bean Scene (Vernon) or at the door (if available, cash only).