Prairie Oyster is a Canadian country music group from Toronto, Ontario. They were named Country Group or Duo of the year six times by both the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) and the Juno Awards. The band also won the Bud Country Fans' Choice Award from the CCMA in 1994. They have four No. 1 country singles in Canada, with an additional 12 singles reaching the Canadian Country Top 10. Eight of their albums have been certified gold or platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association, including the 1992 CCMA Album of the Year Everybody Knows.
Prairie Oyster formed in 1975 in Toronto. As a trio, consisting of singer/bassist Russell deCarle (born May 31, 1954), guitarist Keith Glass (born 1952) and steel guitarist Dennis Delorme, they toured and performed on television, but did not record. They subsequently broke up in 1978.
In 1983, the band reunited, adding fiddler John P. Allen, keyboardist Joan Besen and drummer John Adames to the lineup. Bruce Moffat soon replaced Adames, and the group released its debut album, Oyster Tracks, in 1986 on Stony Plain Records. The album found its way to RCA Records executive Joe Galante, who signed the group after seeing them perform. RCA wanted the band to change their name, but they were already too well known. Prairie Oyster was named Country Group or Duo of the Year at the Juno Awards in 1986 and 1987.
Their first album for RCA, Different Kind of Fire, was released in 1990 in both Canada and the United States. On the success of the album, Prairie Oyster was named the CCMA Group or Duo of the Year in 1990 and 1991. They also won the Juno Award for Country Group or Duo of the Year in 1991. All four singles released reached the top 15 in Canada, including the top 5's "Goodbye, So Long, Hello," "I Don't Hurt Anymore" and "Something to Remember You By." The band didn't do as well in the United States however, with the highest charting single peaking at No. 62. "Goodbye, So Long, Hello" was the CCMA Single of the Year in 1990. The following year, "Lonely You, Lonely Me" was named Song of the Year by the CCMA. In March 1991, the band received a nomination from the Academy of Country Music for Top New Group or Duo.
Prairie Oyster's third album, Everybody Knows, was released in 1991. The album featured four top 10 singles in Canada: "Did You Fall In Love with Me," "One Precious Love," "Will I Do (Till the Real Thing Comes Along)" and "Everybody Knows." Unfortunately, only one single charted in the U.S., "One Precious Love" (#51). Prairie Oyster won several CCMA Awards in 1992, including Album of the Year for Everybody Knows, Song of the Year for "Did You Fall In Love with Me," as well as their third straight win as Group or Duo of the Year. The Juno Awards also awarded them Country Group or Duo of the Year for the fourth time.
The band's fourth album, Only One Moon, was released in Canada on Arista Records in 1994. It would also go on to become their most successful. The first single, "Such a Lonely One," was also their first No. 1 in Canada. Two more singles released from the project also reached the top of the Canadian Country chart, "Don't Cry Little Angel" and the title track. Additional singles "Louisiette," "Black-Eyed Susan" and "Ancient History" all reached the top 10. They were named Group or Duo of the Year by the CCMA in 1994, 1995 and 1996, and won the Bud Country Fans' Choice Award in 1994. The Juno Awards also recognized Prairie Oyster as the Country Group or Duo of the Year in both 1995 and 1996.
Their fifth album, Blue Plate Special, was released in 1996. The first song released from the disc, "Unbelievable Love," reached No. 1. "One Way Track" was also a top 5, but follow-up singles peaked outside the top 10. Bohdan Hluszko replaced Bruce Moffat as the drummer on the album. The following year, Hluszko was fired from the band after coming out as transgender.
With the 1998 release of their sixth album, What Is This Country?, the group returned to the top 10 with the songs "Canadian Sunrise" (#5) and "Keep On Dreaming (#9). Charlie Cooley filled in as drummer for the band. Cooley is the father of Canadian actor Ryan Cooley.
The band released their first greatest hits album, String of Pearls: A Greatest Hits Collection, in 2000. The only song released from the project was "Man in the Moon," which had been re-recorded as a duet with folk singer-songwriter Jenny Whiteley.
Prairie Oyster re-surfaced in 2006 with the release of their latest album, One Kiss, on Open Road Recordings. So far the album has produced three singles, "Sweet Sweet Girl to Me" (written and originally recorded by Don Gibson), "Too Bad For Me," and a cover of Bob Dylan's "I Threw It All Away." The group continues to tour and perform at music festivals and clubs in Canada and the United States.
Prairie Oyster was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 2001 the band was presented with a SOCAN National Achievement Award.
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