MP3 Barry Russo - These Are The Days
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12 MP3 Songs
POP: Power Pop, POP: 80's Pop
With a middle-class upbringing, a musical resume that includes garage-band member, and a history of anxiety-riddled relationships dating back to high school, Barry Russo is a bona fide average guy. But a look beneath the surface takes you to a place where paradox runs deep. A place where the crosscurrents of introspection, experience, and study of psychology collide to question the meaning and purpose of life. The resulting thoughts, insights, and questions are delivered wrapped up in an upbeat pop music package. "I hope that through my music others can perhaps see themselves, understand themselves a bit better, and walk away with the same renewed sense of hope, optimism, and persistence that I have found in my journey,"
Russo's deft handling of weighty life issues through playful lyrics and catchy melodies reminiscent of a young Billy Joel makes one want to put the top down, turn up the volume and take a long cruise down an open highway. For instance, cuts from These Are The Days, Russo's freshman CD, include "While We've Got Today," which bounces along with a subtle reggae rhythm and encourages the listener not to be caught up in what could have been - to give it up, to live it up. "A Matter Of Time" is an inspirational ballad for those times in life when it seems the light at the end of the tunnel is a train headed your way. "Walk Away" explores the mental tug-of-war between hanging on to what's familiar and comfortable and letting go when we know it's self-destructive. "Are You Listening" could be interpreted as referring to a human relationship, but Barry's search for a deeper spiritual connection would be a closer call. In "Child Of The 80s," the listener is directed to the exit ramp of this psychologically sentimental yet upbeat journey. With its tongue-in-cheek approach, this cut is pure parody and takes the listener on a fun nostalgic trip through 80s pop culture. "The style of my music is melodic pop rock, with an 80s influence, but it doesn't sound like it was recorded in the 80's. The exception to this, of course, is 'Child Of The 80s,' where we had a little fun incorporating recording styles of that era," says Barry. "And though the themes I speak of in many songs may be thought-provoking, the presentation represents my overall optimistic outlook."
Perhaps the seeds of Russo's paradoxical nature were planted early on, when extremes seemed to be the norm. Barry often found himself performing songs such as "Highway To Hell" with a rock band in a bar at 2 a.m. and "Ave Maria" six hours later in church. Even nailing down his first church gig was a logical contradiction. No less than ten minutes through the imposing doors of St. Ann Church in his hometown of Cranston, Rhode Island, Barry was challenged to play Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" by the pastor, who had decided to have some fun and appear to be intimidating to the sixteen-year-old who had come to be interviewed for the position. The good-natured joke backfired, however, as it just so happened that Barry knew the difficult classical piece. He aced the audition, leaving the priest speechless, except for a few forgivable profanities uttered out of astonishment.
By the time of that first church audition, Barry had already studied piano for six years, beginning at the age of ten. As the shy schoolboy grew older, he found music as a way to connect with people...especially girls. Each day after school, Russo headed straight to the baby grand piano in the living room of his parents' home overlooking the shores of Narragansett Bay. Bach, Clementi, and Mozart, as well as many other composers, became his inspiration. Equally influential in his development was the music of many pop artists, including some 80s favorites such as Phil Collins, Duran Duran, The Hooters, Billy Joel, Howard Jones, and Survivor. All helped to shape the writing of infectious melodies and catchy lyrics that Barry is known for throughout Southern New England.
After a period of long-distance co-writing with Nashville's Shay Watson, Barry decided to not only record his first album in Music City but to accept Watson's offer to produce the freshmen project. Considering Watson's work with Grammy- and Dove-Award winning artist/songwriter Bruce Carroll as well as Shelter Records artist Phil Baquie (who recently hit the European charts), the decision was an easy one to make.
Today, Barry continues to be a student of life, but at the same time finds himself playing the role of teacher - taking the listener on a journey of discovery to find the answers in life that we all seek. All the while, he's serving up encouragement and sometimes sheer fun on a silver CD platter. "Many times, my music isn't necessarily about where I'm at, but more where I want to be. Time seems to go by so quickly. It's easy to get bogged down in day-to-day living and lose sight of the big picture. I think to some extent, a lot of people are in a similar situation. Much of my first CD is based on the challenges of overcoming obstacles and living life to its fullest."
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