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Prairie Oyster

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The sound is fresh but the influences are very obvious in our music and we make no apologies for that. -Russell deCarle

Once you've recognized the difference between "retro" and "roots" in country music, you'll find explaining the unique brilliance of Prairie Oyster infinitely easier. Retro is when a musician dusts off an old sound to show how clever he is for having rediscovered it; roots is the sound musicians make when they mine the very soul of a genre, and their own personal past, as a way to better convey their ideas. "I think we're one of the few real roots country groups in North America," declares deCarle. At a time when commercial country music has become so incredibly homogenous that one artist is virtually indistinguishable from the next, any album that serves up as many delicacies as diverse as those offered here deserves to be called "Special".

We just keep doing what we do and you end up doing the right thing at the right time. -Keith Glass

From the languid lead~off shuffle of "She Won't Be Lonely Long" through the blues-y swing of "If My Broken heart l Would Ever Mend", to the Tex-Mex flavoring of "Tonight There's A Blue Moon" and the R&B-inflected "Unbelievable Love", Blue Plate Special serves up a cross-section of the last 30 years of country music, a cross- section that roughly corresponds with the history of the band. All but one of the songs, Roger Miller's classic "In The Summertime", were penned by the members of Prairie Oyster. First formed by Glass, Delorme and deCarle in 1975 and then re-formed to include Besen and Allen in l983 (after a five year hiatus), Prairie Oyster has spent the last dozen years refining a sound that reflects all the members' divergent interests.

The sound we play has become retro while we were busy the last 25 years. -Joan Besen

An awful lot and nothing much has changed since the release of Only One Moon in 1994. Drummer Bruce Moffet, who replaced John Adames in 1986, has left Prairie Oyster, but his replacement, old friend Bohdan Hluszko whose style is deeply rooted in the tradition of country music, made the transition remarkably painless. Once again the band claims a share of the production credits - along with Mike Poole who had engineered Only One Moon - a move deCarle explains with a shrug:

"We've gotten to the point, this being our fifth album, where we've quit trying to second guess anyone. I don't think anyone knows what we're capable of better than us."

After releasing their independent debut, Oyster Tracks, in 1986, Prairie Oyster signed to BMG and began their string of gold and platinum albums. Different Kind Of Fire was their breakthrough in 1990, followed by Everybody Knows the following year and then Only One Moon. On May 26, 1996 Prairie Oyster were honored at the RPM Big Country Awards as Group of the Year for the sixth consecutive time. They've won five Junos as Country Group of the Year and the individual members are regularly named to the Canadian Country Music Association's All Star Band.

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