Terry (Terrance Victor) Carisse. Country singer, songwriter, guitarist, b Ottawa 11 Jul 1946, d Ottawa 22 May 2005. Terry Carisse performed as a singer and guitarist in Ottawa Valley country bands during his teens, but first came to wider notice as a songwriter, collaborating with the lyricist Bruce Rawlins (b 1940, d 1987). Several of their early songs were hits 1971-2 for the Mercey Brothers, including 'Hello Mom,' 'Who Wrote the Words,' and 'Kentucky Turn Your Back.' Carisse/Rawlins songs also have been recorded by Carroll Baker, Marie Bottrell, Ralph Carlson, Patrick Norman, the US artists Bill Anderson and Charlie Louvin, the Australian Allan Hawking, Holland's Esther Tims, and Sweden's Teddy Nelson.
Carisse travelled 1978-80 as a member of Baker's backing band, Tenderfoot, then began a solo career in a polished, pop-influenced contemporary style that made him one of Canada's most successful country artists of the 1980s. He won Big Country Awards for male vocalist (1980, 1981, 1987), single ('Windship,' 1981) and albums (We Could Make Beautiful Music Together, 1981, and None of the Feeling Is Gone, 1987); he also received Canadian Country Music Association awards for male vocalist (1982, annually 1984-6), album (The Closest Thing to You, 1985) and song of the year ('Counting the I Love Yous,' 1985). With Rawlins he shared Big Country awards as composer of the year in 1981 and 1986.
Carisse's group, Tracks, with which he toured extensively in Canada (playing at clubs, concerts, the Calgary Stampede, Big Valley Jamboree, etc), won a Canadian Country Music Association award in 1985 as best backing band. They performed with such country stars as the Gatlin Brothers, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette. Carisse also appeared on the Tommy Hunter show and at the International Country Music Festival.
Additional Recordings and Awards
Carisse's other hit singles include 'Time to Go' and 'Sparkle in Her Eyes' (1979), 'All Her Letters' and 'We Could Make Beautiful Music Together' (1980), 'Sweet Blue' (1985), 'Love Sweet Love' (1986), 'Old Photographs' and 'Starting Forever Again' (1987), and 'I Thought Leaving Would Be Easy' (1988). His duets with Michelle Wright ('None of the Feeling Is Gone,' 1987) and Tracey Brown ('Start of Something New,' 1990) were also popular. On occasion, he also recorded gospel music. The film The Rowdyman also contains songs by Carisse. He was honoured with songwriting awards by BMI, PROCAN, SOCAN and the Canadian Music Publishers Association, and was inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.
Carisse released his last album in 1989, and a few singles in the early 1990s, notably "Is Your Heart Taken," which was ranked number 22 on the RPM charts for 1991. He worked briefly in Nashville in 1989 as a songwriter, but after the early 1990s was much less visible, although he continued to write songs (such as "Angel Loved the Devil," recorded by Kenny Chesney) and to make a few appearances. Carisse was also a registered dog breeder.