Welcome to the Official Website of The Original Caste and Bruce Innes!
We are glad you have stopped by!!
Bruce is a native of Calgary, Alberta, and began performing professionally at age 11 due in large part to his father, a professional musician himself, who chauffeured him to and from jobs to ensure the pre-teen was home safely by midnight. As a teenager he wrote vocal parts and arrangements for his high school group’s performances. At the University of Montana he began seriously writing songs which his group, The Big Sky Singers, recorded and performed. His final year in college he was hand picked by blues legend Josh White (in poor health at the time and unable to play guitar) to tour and play guitar behind Josh's vocals. Living the blues life with Josh as mentor left an indelible imprint on Bruce’s musical style. After the end of the tour in NYC, Bruce returned to university where by chance on his weekend job playing piano in Butte he met Hunter S. Thompson. Hunter became a fan and friend and suggested that Bruce might want to expose his talent to a bigger stage, i.e., California. Up for the challenge, Bruce took The Big Sky Singers to L.A. where they released an album with Dot Records containing songs and arrangements by Bruce. In the yearly poll of a national jazz magazine they were voted “best vocal group in the nation”. The future was full of promise until the group was decimated by the sudden death of David Stiles, the lead singer. Bruce remained in L.A. working as a studio musician and songwriter for hire. His songwriting/performing ability led to being asked to create a stage show for sports celebrity, Maury Wills, which they performed in the off season during Maury’s heyday, touring the Orient and U.S.
Bruce returned to Calgary and began performing in a little locally renowned coffee house with incredible but undiscovered performers like Joni Anderson (now known world wide as Joni Mitchell) and David Wiffen. Using The Pig's Eye as a performance base he formed The North Country Singers with Graham Bruce, Bliss Mackie and Dixie Lee Stone. The group performed across Canada before moving to Los Angeles and changing the group name to THE ORIGINAL CASTE. At Dot Records they recorded two singles before signing with TA Records, a label distributed by Bell Records (Columbia). At TA Records Bruce met Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, who produced THE ORIGINAL CASTE’S first album and the two hit singles, ONE TIN SOLDIER and MR. MONDAY. The success of these two songs (Certified Gold in Canada and Japan) enabled the group to tour extensively in the United States, Canada and Japan. Along the way Bruce collaborated with other artists, including singing with his friend, John Denver, on his Rocky Mountain High album. Bruce then took a break from the road to be at home while his two children were growing up. He remained active, however, writing and in the recording studio. He wrote and performed “Musictorials”, a series of humorous/satirical topical songs for Canada radio. He wrote songs for such notable artists as Ethel Ennis (jazz), Mickey Gilley (country) and Ray Stevens (comedy).
Proving that excellence is timeless, Bruce creates a singular connection with audiences. His disarming charm and on-stage ease is the perfect backdrop for his consummate skill on guitar and piano, and distinctive voice and style. The texture of his shows is a tapestry of original material, exceptional songs and personal anecdotes - some humorous, some poignant, some peeks into his friendships with the famous. Bruce continues his lifelong involvement and passion for music - performing, writing, and recording.
Gold records in Canada, Australia, Japan
Top ten hits in Japan, Australia
Produced WMA Album of the Year 2003
Canada - Vancouver to Toronto U.S. - NYC to LA <> Seattle to Albuquerque Japan - Tokyo to Sapporo
Europe - France, Germany, Scotland, England, Mexico Asia - Vietnam
Josh White****Ian Tyson****Michael MacDonald****Joni Mitchell****Crosby Stills & Nash****Judy Collins
Blood Sweat & Tears****The Carpenters****Seals & Crofts****Ray Charles****Waylon Jennings
Glen Campbell****Bobby Darin****John Denver****Tommy Banks
Bruce Innes: guitar, vocals - now resides in Washington State.
Dixie Lee Stone: vocals - now resides in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Bliss Mackie: guitar, vocals (1943 - 2004) All of us who knew Bliss were very sad when he passed away. He was fun to tour with, a kind person, and a good acoustic guitarist and singer. He was a gentleman on and off stage and we miss him.
Graham Bruce: bass, vocals - now resides (we think) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Peter Brown: drums - no clue where he is.
Joe Cavender replaced Peter Brown on drums in 1970 - now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 1972, Graham Bruce and Bliss Mackie were replaced by:
Gary Carlson - now resides in Bellevue, Idaho
Dennis Coats - now resides in Sandpoint, Idaho
In subsequent years the band included Calgarians: Richard Harrow, Glenn Mundy, Julian Kerr and John Dunn . In all variations until the mid 80’s the group featured Bruce Innes and Dixie Lee Stone.