BERLIN – Bryan Russo knows how lucky he is to be known as an Ocean City musician that plays mostly original songs.
For over a year, the local “songster” has been a constant at the Galaxy 66 on Wednesday nights and has become known as a prolific songwriter and a talented performer. He has learned, however, to welcome the occasional cat-calls for a little tune called “Freebird.”
“I realize that this is a cover song type of town, and I’ve learned to embrace that, after getting to know some of the uber-talented people that make a very good living off of playing music in this town. I feel extremely lucky that [Galaxy 66 owners] Tammy and Roger [Cebula] let me play my own stuff and sprinkle in some cover tunes that really influenced me, rather than just occasionally sneak in an original. I just try to put on a good show and I think that’s all anyone wants to do, regardless of how your set list reads.”
Starting Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 10 p.m., Russo will be changing the format of his usual “An Evening with Bryan Russo” to “An Open Jam with Bryan Russo” as a way to extend the opportunity for other musicians to come and showcase their talents, whether covers or originals, on what he calls a “listening room.”
“This whole idea started with talking to Roger about ways to change the Wednesdays in the off season since we are over a year in of just me and all my instruments, realizing that things have to constantly evolve,” Russo said. “There have been a lot of musicians that have told me that they are envious that I have a venue to play whatever I want. I thought this would be a cool way for everyone to have a place where they know that they can try out a song that they just wrote on new ears, or just play with or listen to musicians that they’ve wanted to see, but were too busy with their own gigs over the summer. I hope that it becomes a big creative think tank for good songwriting and a ridiculously awesome jam session for everyone to listen to.”
The format will be a bit more laid back from the structured open mic format at the beginning, almost a “you never know who might step up to the microphone-type of thing”, according to Russo.
“I hope that it will be a breath of fresh air to the very loyal crowd of people that come to see me each week and brings in a lot of new faces. I’m flattered that they know a lot of the words to my songs, but I’m sure they’d like to hear other talented people all in the same room,” Russo said. “I hope it turns out to be a one-stop shop for not only great music, but also the place to go on Wednesday nights to see all the ‘good souls’ that you’ve been too busy to see all summer.”
For those musicians who would like to join Russo, contact him on his website at www.myspace.com/bryanrusso or just show up for the show.