TERRY CARISSE (1989 Inductee)

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Terry’s interest in country music developed when he was very young, and by age 14, he had appeared on several local talent shows and festivals. Learning to strum guitar shortly afterwards, he began performing with a band on weekends at dances and clubs in the Ottawa Valley and developing his song writing skills.

In 1969, Terry and his good friend Bruce Rawlins (1987 Citation inductee) began what would become a prolific song writing partnership that continued until Bruce’s untimely death in January 1987. Over the course of those 18 years, Terry and Bruce’s compositions won numerous RPM and Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) awards: Album of the Year (three times), Single of the Year, Song of the Year, and Composers of the Year (twice), as well as 13 BMI, PROCAN and SOCAN Writer Awards, Publisher Awards (three from PROCAN and two from SOCAN), and Song of the Year from the Canadian Music Publishers Association. Terry himself was voted Male Vocalist of the Year three times by RPM and four times by the CCMA as well as CCMA Record Producer of the Year and Publisher of the Year. Terry was also honoured with an Award of Recognition by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of Canada for writing and recording the 15th World Scout International Jamboree Theme Song in 1983 and was chosen by the readers of Country Music News as their All-Time Favourite Male Vocalist in 1988.

For two years, beginning in 1978, Terry and his band, Tenderfoot, were the opening act and backup for Carroll Baker, performing concert dates in Canada and Great Britain, including the London Palladium. In 1980, Terry left the Carroll Baker Show to tour with his new band, Tracks. Crisscrossing the country, Terry and the band performed at such venues as the Calgary Stampede, the Big Valley Jamboree in Regina, fairs in Lethbridge and Charlottetown, and the first-ever national telecast of the Canadian Country Music Awards. The band has opened for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in Atlantic Canada and toured with, among many others, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Mel Tillis, and Willie Nelson. Terry has appeared on the Tommy Hunter Show and the International Country Music Festival in Peterborough, England as well as writing and performing three songs on "The Rowdyman" film starring Gordon Pinsent.

Over the years, Terry has released six albums and numerous singles, initially on the Mercey Brothers’ MBS label and, subsequently, on Savannah Records. His songs have been recorded by Carroll Baker, Marie Bottrell, Ralph Carlson, Bruce Golden, "Whispering Bill" Anderson, Charlie Louvin, Australian country singer, Allan Hawking, Holland’s Esther Tims, and Sweden’s Teddy Nelson, and his songs have been released in Germany, Australia, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Publishing deals for the exploitation of the Carisse/Rawlins catalogue in these countries followed these releases. Terry’s personal favourite album, "A Gospel Gathering", featured Carroll Baker, Dallas Harms, Tracey Brown-Prescott, Ralph Carlson, Lawanda Brown, Larry Mercey, Johnny Burke and Ted Daigle, and he has released duets with Tracey and with Michelle Wright. In 1988, the Welk Music Group, one of Nashville’s music publishing institutions, brought Terry to Music City to work with some of the top songwriters to develop material for the international market.

Terry Carisse, one of Canadian country music's most award - decorated and popular singer-songwriters, died May 22, 2005 in Ottawa hospital, of cancer. Carisse was 62. Terry is survived by his wife Aija (Skadins) and sons Stephen, Chris and Sean and a brother, Stephen.


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