AL BRISCO (1994 Inductee)

Al Brisco was born and raised on the family farm, Appledale, near Renfrew, Ontario. As a youngster, he took five years of piano lessons and was influenced by the music he encountered in his local school and church. Al progressed to the acoustic and then bass guitars and, at the age of sixteen, was playing with "The Countrymen", a popular band in the Renfrew area. It was then that he built his first pedal steel guitar and, subsequently, was able to buy his first "factory built" Fender 400.

Having finished high school, Al was soon in demand as a touring picker and a session player. His style was influenced by well known steel players like Ralph Mooney, Tom Brumley and Buddy Emmons. Al worked sessions with such names as George Hamilton IV, Pure Prairie League, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Gordie Tapp, Gary Buck, Tommy Hunter and Johnny Burke.

After a number of years of touring, Al was called by Ronnie Hawkins and, for the next four years, toured with "The Hawks" as band leader. During this time, he backed up many outstanding acts, including Frank Zappa, The Band, Kris Kristofferson and Beverly D'Angelo. In 1976, he joined Johnny Burke and Eastwind and continued to tour. With Burke, he was called upon as a back-up musician on CTV’s Funny Farm, CFGM’s syndicated radio show, Opry North, and many more.

Al Brisco knows steel guitars from top to bottom. After building his first unit, he went on to work with Eddy Fulawka in creating pedal steels. Leaving "the road" in 1981, Al spent the next ten years as Cosmo Music in Richmond Hill. He continues to run "Steel Guitars of Canada", an organization he founded in 1979, and is in constant demand in North America and Europe for seminars and conventions. The summer of 2000 saw Al and his family move to Colborne, Ontario - to the new "Appledale" and closer to his roots in the Ottawa Valley.


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