By 1973 The Original Caste had run its course and topped the charts with one of the most iconic contemporary songs of the era with “One Tin Soldier” (also featured on the movie “Billie Jack”). Calgary native Bruce Innes’ next project was dabbling more in his country roots with Appleshine, along with friend Harvey Sawatzky.
Innes liked the idea of a woman fronting the group, as was the case with The Original Caste. Although primarily a dancer, Manni Fink, who’d enjoyed a fair bit of success via several CBC specials on her 18-piece show band Stratus Faction.
Innes was talked into one last The Original Caste album, 1974’s BACK HOME. Once that commitment was out of the way, Appleshine rounded out their lineup with guitarist Peter Marley, Mark Schauer on pedal steel, and percussionist Bill McCormick. While they rehearsed and found some gigs over the next year or so, Fink won the Miss Calgary pageant in ’75 and was runner up in the Miss Canada pageant a year later, losing to a fellow Albertan.
By ’76 they had enough material for an album, and with Innes producing, they recorded their debut album at Peter Bentley’s studio in Calgary and released it later that year. Self-titled, Sawatzky and Innes penned the few originals, and along with covers of The Eagles’ “Tequila Sunrise,” Emmylou Harris’ “Amarillo,” Hank Sr’s “Hey Good Looking,” and Commander Cody’s “Sunset On The Sage,” the album got good reviews. The single “Kentucky Moonshine” cracked the top 40 in country pockets around the country, and they continued to tour west to Ontario in between members’ other projects.
They finally officially split in ’82, and Innes moved to Idaho and continued to perform. One of his side projects was in the mid ’90s, when he formed the group, One Tin Soldier Rides Again. Sawatzky moved to Vancouver and works in the A/V industry. Fink got married and became a real estate agent in southern Alberta. Marley stayed in Calgary and became a music teacher.