OCEAN CITY – One local journalist and musician is bringing a unique lineup of musicians to Fager’s Island stage on Tuesday nights this summer, exposing Ocean City to talent more accustomed to playing in metropolitan areas.
The Tuesday Nite Music Club with Bryan Russo will kick off on July 8 at Fager’s Island starting at 9 p.m. and will be free to the public.
Russo is an award-winning journalist and an acclaimed composer and songwriter who has shared the stage with blues legend John Mayall, the Black Keys, G Love and Special Sauce, Donavon Frankenreiter and Rusted Root, to name just a few, and his songs have been heard all over the world on radio, television and film.
“Tuesday Nite Music Club is an eight-week songwriter showcase. I am bringing in world-class talent from all over the place — Wilmington, Baltimore, Annapolis, Philadelphia, D.C., just folks from everywhere,” Russo said. “I hope musicians will come out to this on a Tuesday night. I hope people who are looking forward to the opening of the new Performing Arts Center to see world-class talent in Ocean City will see this as a prelude series for that. I am trying to create a scene where people can come in and see a topnotch show that you could see in any city in America with world-class talent, and just sit and be awe struck by the artist in front of you.”
Russo has selected a range of genres from singer/songwriters like Jerzy Jung, Justin Trawick and Naked Blue to stomping-Mississippi-blues of Swampcandy and a Berklee trained musician like Mark Hopkins.
“These are people that have played with legends and are up and coming performers of the highest pedigree,” Russo said. “Take your lady out. Take your fella out. It is a cool classy evening of original music … I have always liked playing in a listening room in front of musicians and you have complete silence with people really listening. I have never really been able to get that here. You always have to go to cities where that is basically how it works, and I think it can be done here, and I think people will really dig not only the artists we are bringing but the evening and the ambiance that it will create. Fager’s is a perfect setting for that, and I can’t thank the Fager’s people enough for believing in something like this, and giving it a go. Hopefully this will be successful and each week people can come back and see an artist with a different style, and we can build from there and do more artists next year or carry it into the off-season. You never know.”
Tuesday Nite Music Club begins this Tuesday, July 8, with Angela Sheik, a BOSS US National Loop Champion and a fierce vocal- and multi-instrumentalist who wows audiences with her fast effects pedal footwork and mischievous smile. She builds her own virtual backup band using rhythmic harmonies, beatbox rhythms, a looper pedal, and a collection of unusual instruments, including autoharp, theremin and flute.
Mark Hopkins will take the stage on July 15. Hopkins is a Berklee School of Music trained guitarist who writes songs that ooze all the things listeners love about soul, rock and pop music.
On July 22, Dante Bucci will rock the Handpan. Bucci is a fixture in the Philly indie music scene and one of the most-recognized Handpan players in the world, thanks to a constantly-expanding list of subscribers and nearly 10 million views on his YouTube channel.
On July 29, formerly of the Philadelphia band Pawnshop Roses, Paul Keen continues with the rock and roll, country and blues tradition with a more stripped down sound. Keen uses traditional song writing structures with thought provoking lyrics to bring the listener into the ups and downs of his world.
On Aug. 5, Swampcandy will perform aggressive stomping-Mississippi-blues and cross-genre sets that create an eclectic mix of honestly-crafted songs that will take you on a journey of raw emotion and refined sensation.
Justin Trawick will take stage on Aug. 12. Trawick’s music ranges in styles from folk/bluegrass all the way to funk/hip hop, and his lineup varies for each show and with instrumentation that includes upright bass, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, banjo, saxophone, trumpet, cello, piano, harmonica, drums and hand percussion.
Jerzy Jung will perform on Aug. 19. She describes her music as small sonic snapshots from all of the journeys of others and her own. Possessing an intense vocal laden with strength and sincerity, Jung succeeds in finding influence in just about anything life cares to throw at her and masterfully pens songs that reflect the thoughts and beliefs of her audience.
Naked Blue will conclude the first eight weeks on Aug. 26. Drawing from the Americana tradition and firmly grounded with a pleasing pop sensibility, the performing songwriter team, Jen and Scott Smith, and their band, Naked Blue, have become a mainstay on the singer/songwriter pop scene.
“That’s why we wanted to call it Tuesday Night Music Club because it is for people who love music, and can come and listen to top notch quality musicians that they may have never heard of but if they come and see the shows they are just going to be blown away and become new fans of these folks,” Russo said. “I am really jazzed that these artists that I have played with over the years in different capacities and in different cities were so very excited to come to Ocean City and try something like this.”