The Rogue Folk Club presents

Russell deCarle





3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano

Accessible All ages

This event has already taken place.


Russell deCarle is forever setting people straight about his origins.

Just because he fronted popular Canadian country band Prairie Oyster for more than 30 years, most assume he’s from some place out in big sky country. But he’s actually an Ontarian, born and bred, and since 1995 he has been living in relative seclusion on a former farm near Lindsay, north of Toronto.

“I’m way off the radar, which is kind of great,” he said. “It’s a nice contrast from being on the road and in the public eye.” This time of year you can often find deCarle out in the bush near his place collecting maple syrup, or chopping wood for the fall. He’s not one of those silver-spoon-fed Nashville stars, in other words. DeCarle’s a working country boy.

In fact, he’s so far removed from the new country scene, he can’t even tell you what’s hot and what isn’t. “I try to keep up, but I don’t really hear much in modern country music that does anything for me,” said deCarle. “It’s not until I hear the old stuff on satellite radio that I remember how much I really love that early music.”

Russell will be joined by Steve Briggs (lead guitar and vocals) and Jeremy Holmes (bass and vocals). They play old-time country music that ranges from hillbilly folk, to country blues, swing and Tex Mex.  "I never thought of myself as (being in) a specific format, although people think of me as strictly a country singer because of the Prairie Oyster connection.”

Actually, he was weaned on early Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and, before them, Ray Charles and Arthur Alexander. He’s always been a fan of the early rebels of country — Charlie Rich, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and the like. “Ray Charles is probably my favourite country singer,” he said. “Those records he made in the ’60s, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (two volumes), are my all-time favourite records.”

Right behind them he lists the music of Arthur Alexander, a forgotten 1960s American soul singer and songwriter who was an early influence on The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Ry Cooder. “They wrote and sang great songs,” deCarle said. “A great song is a great song regardless who sings it or how it’s played.”

Currently he gets to play many of the old tunes, but a healthy batch of newly composed songs and some selections, in new arrangements, from the Oyster days. Despite the huge following his Prairie Oyster music still commands, deCarle said when he changes up the old songs or introduces something new, audiences keep right in step. “If you’re really connected to what you are doing,” he said, “people want to go there with you and explore something different.”

In concert he’ll toss in the odd Oyster song and selections from his own three albums. "I played bass primarily in Oyster,” he said. “Now I’m playing rhythm guitar and I’m loving it. I get to drive this big groove machine with guys who can really solo.”

- T. Shaw, The Windsor Star. (edited a bit by Paul Norton)


"He presents a master class in slow burning country, Tex Mex and western swing that’s big on character and grows with the unflashy expertise and spontaneous creativity of ...Briggs’ instrumental illuminations." - The Sunday Herald, Scotland.

“A tall, golden-haired gentleman, deCarle brought old-time roots music to life in a lively and engaging fashion, as well as impeccable musicianship. They started with … a lilting cowboy tune that demonstrated deCarle’s seemingly effortless ability to yodel. Of course, he’s also a singer with a great crooning voice.” – The Ottawa Citizen.

“DeCarle is no stranger to awards and accolades since he began performing with Prairie Oyster in 1974. Over the band's career, the 2008 Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA) Hall of Honour inductees have accumulated Junos and CCMAs, gold and platinum selling records and No. 1 singles. DeCarle has also received two SOCAN Song of the Year awards for "Such a Lovely One" and "One Way Trick," which he co-wrote with Canadian folk legend, Willie P. Bennett.” – The High River Times.

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Please note that the admission price for this concert includes a $2 Venue Improvement Fee that we are required by the St. James Square to collect from every patron. Starting in September 2016, the proceeds from this temporary fee will be used for construction projects such as ventilation, flooring and washrooms that will make the hall a nicer place for you to visit in the future. If you wish, you can make a secure donation by clicking on the big blue button at the bottom of the page at For information on donating by phone or post, please contact the St. James Square office at 604-739-9373.