Origin: Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, 🇨🇦
Country singer/songwriter Dale Russell had an impact on the Manitoba country music scene in the late 1970's and early 80's, primarily as a recording artist but also as a songwriter and a record producer.
Dale Russell is best known for his 1980 album "She Don't Like The Highway" released on the Sunshine Records label (SSLP-4015). Russell's debut single, prior to the release of the album, was the song "Feel It", (SS-53) which charted nationally in Canada, peaking at #55 in 1978. The 1979 follow-up, "Mr. In Between" failed to chart, however the 1980 release of the album's title track tune, "She Don't Like The Highway", proved to be Dale Russell's highest charting single, coming in at #28 on the RPM Country charts. Dale Russell wrote or co-wrote all 10 songs on his album, which he produced at Roades Studios in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In addition to his own recordings Dale Russell also had his songs recorded by Dennis T. Olson, Laurie Karr and Raeanne Paxton. He was also active in the studios producing sessions for Don Freed, Barbara Ann Sellman, Darlene Wiebe, Cindy Thompson, Harvey Henry, Shelly Lou Marie, Laurie Karr and Raeanne Paxton. As early as 1975, Dale Russell was involved in recording sessions, playing guitar and handling musical arrangements on Rick Neufeld's "Manitobasongs" album.
During the late 1970's Dale Russell was a regular on the CTV-Winnipeg produced TV show, "Sounds Country", hosted by Dennis T. Olson.
Country music's Dale Russell went on in 1983 to join the Canadian rock group The Guess Who and remained a member until May of 2000
Portage La Prairie born Dale Russell is more of a craftsman than a poet and his albums have put into practice his theories about songwriting. Some of his songs tell stories and may even contain a moral. "There are songs that were simply fun to do because I was able to play the words and make the most extensive use of the melody lines," Dale said. "Billy Bottle" is partly fact and partly fiction. "Billy is in part a mythical character every musician has run into in one bar or another. But its also about white man's injustice against the Indians," he said.
Dale is a genuinely talented individual who happens to write and sing some fine contemporary country songs. He's refreshing, comforting and personable as a musician as well as an individual. "I like an active role and when I'm not performing, I like to produce and write," he said.
Aside from the record business Dale is busy with studio work, some commercials, producing albums and looking after a publishing house that is mainly geared to Western Canada and Ontario. He admits he opened his publishing house in order to protect his own material. "I believe in people and performing for them," he said. The market for music is North America and he believes in being a Canadian. . . "but the market is ten times bigger south of the 49th," he said. "But, I am a Canadian and a Manitoba boy. . . the important thing is that I know who I am and what I want to remain. . . a Canadian," Russell said.
Russell has appeared in many clubs, concerts and variety shows starting first in the Folk music field. But he has been able to adapt to any type of music and has tried rock, jazz and country. He considers himself a country music performer and enjoys doing that the best. Last year he did a great job at the Call of the Wild Mountain Music Festival and later in September was showcased in Toronto at the Country Music Week awards program. He appeared at Diamond Lil's being backed up by Red Wyng with Laura Vinsen. He even has a fan club that was organzied recently and information on this can be found by contacting Sunshine Records.
"The fruition of my dreams took a long time, and the future looks promising, however, it could have never been realized without the help of numerous musicians who've influenced me and taught me. I owe them a great deal," said Dale. To musicians, "making it" means a recording contract, choice concert dates and an easing off of dues. Music, then, becomes a hustler's business, where the prerequisite is natural curiosity and a willingness to gamble. "Curiosity and a desire to learn and experience the essence of every kind of music style always pays off. If you're the least bit competent in each style, it means you're a better musician. In turn, it means you're in more demand than the musician who may stick to the one style," said Dale. During the early years Dale was well rooted in country music but soon moved to other styles. He won a Manitoba-wide music competition and was voted the year's most promising young musician. The prize was a recording contract which never materialized, but this did not discourage the young musician enough to alter his course.
A family man with a little girl, Dale was never without a gig, and for a while seeing Dale with his guitar case seemed as natural as a prairie winter. Dale spent two seasons with Sounds Country, a regionally broadcast program based on the Grand Ole Opry concept which was taped for the Winnipeg CTV affiliate. Personally he likes fishing and water skiing. "I don't like to kill things so I don't do much hunting," he said. He continually learns from his peers and guitar masters and is surely destined to greater things in the very near future.