Duane Steele was born in the small northern Alberta lumber town of Hines Creek, one of ten kids. Music was a big part of life growing up, with influences coming from every direction in the household. He got his first taste of playing in front of crowds as a teenager, playing weddings and community dances with a band his cousins had put together.
He moved to Edmonton in the mid ’80s and formed Rock ‘N’ Horse. They eventually released their debut album HIGHWAYS in ’91. But despite a pair of top 40 singles, non stop touring, and a Juno nomination for Country Band of the Year, Rock ‘N’ Horse disbanded in 1993. Setting out on his own, he moved to Nashville and landed a publishing contract with Warner Chapel. Being a staff writer saw him working with some of the industry’s top hit makers. He moved back to Calgary and was showcased at Canadian Country Music Week, leading to a recording deal with Mercury in ’95.
He started working with producerd Steve Bogard and Michael Clute, and his debut album came out a year later. P.O. BOX 423, and five singles kept Steele on the radio for over a year, with it peaking at #32 on the Canadian country chart. “Two Names on an Overpass” featuring Lisa Brokop, the top 10 “Stuck on Your Love,” “She’s Tough” (both written by Bogard), “The Trouble with Love” (penned by Hal Ketchum), and the chart-topper “Anita Got Married.” For his efforts, he received four CCMA nominations (including a win for his duet with Brokop) and a pair of Juno nominations.
Working with Bogard and Clutie again, he followed it up with THIS IS THE LIFE in September ’97. He wrote more of the material himself this time, ten tracks in all either alone or as a collaborator. Two singles cracked the top 10 – “Tell The Girl” and “If I Could Just Get to You.” Three more singles made it to the top 40 – his cover of Gordon Lightfoot‘s “If You Could Read My Mind, “Little Black Dress,” and “Right From the Start.” By this point he’d also become a darling of the small screen, with seven videos getting good play from CMT and picking up a few awards. He’d also added a CCMA Award for most promising act to the mantle piece, and had spent the better part of two years on the road with the likes of Shania Twain, Prairie Oyster, Terri Clark, Sammy Kershaw, Lorrie Morgan, and Trisha Yearwood. He also joined Tom Jackson for a series of dates on his Huron Carole Christmas tour, raising money for Canadian food banks.
Now back in Canada and settling in Red Deer, Alberta, after his duet “Forever in Love” with Shirley Myers peaked at #9 on the Canadian chart, he released his third solo album in August 2000 – I’LL BE ALRIGHT on his own label, Jolt Records. Seven singles were released to radio over the next two and a half years, starting with “Make Me Crazy.” Three videos also made CMT’s regular rotation, helping make it his third straight gold or better album, and he also took home the CCMA’s Independent Male Vocalist of the Year Award. Always the philanthropist, the bulk of his 2000 shows was what he called The Dreamcatcher Tour. Travelling from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia, he brought along a message of hope to communities struggling with youth suicides.
Three new tracks came out of the 2004 compilation album SET LIST – “Nobody Cheated, Nobody Lied,” “Sad Country Song,” and “Better Man.” He returned two years later with GHOST TOWN, an album co- produced with songwriter and producer Steve Fox. Seven more singles, starting with “Comin’ Back Around” and including the duet with Hey Romeo’s Stacie Roper and the top 20 title track and “Blue Collar Man,” kept him on the charts for the next two years.
He followed it up with 2010’s GAS & TIME, mostly a collection of songs about life on the road such as “Long Road, Short Memory” and “Hooked on Trains” – about his Holiday Train tour with Tom Jackson a few years earlier that took him from Vancouver to Montreal. Four singles, starting with “Farm Girl.” “Waste of Good Whiskey” featuring Sean Hogan, “Blessed,” and the title track all followed, and he again hit the road on a series of tours over the next few years, including a number of stripped down acoustic shows.
He returned in 2015 with the critically acclaimed DIRT AND DREAMS album, highlighted by the lead-off track and only single, “Brave.” Like much of his material over the last several years, The album was self-reflective, with a focus on a simpler time, in tracks like “Country Folk” and “After the Harvest.” Although touring much less than in earlier years, he again set out on the road for the festival circuit and smaller and more intimate shows.