Old-time country music fans are in for a treat in Maryhill on Apr. 17.
Local musician Lance Russwurm is hosting a party at the Commercial Tavern later this month to celebrate the completion of his first solo album, Self Portrait.
Russwurm, the son of country music stalwart Lynn Russwurm, has a love of classic and what he calls “authentic” country music, and the time has come for him to share that love with an audience, and country music listeners everywhere.
“I grew up on country music, with my dad being that kind of musician,” he said. “I got to like the stuff over the years, and with this CD, I am trying to get back into the retro-country. I tried to do a whole bunch of different styles, but mostly from the ’50s. Some have a Jim Reeves, Nashville sound. Some of it is a little Elvis-ish, a bit rockabilly, and of course, there is lots of Hank Williams. I am trying to capture that era.”
The CD release party for Self Portrait starts up at 3 p.m. at the self described “home of real country music,” with free admission, food and an afternoon of Russwurm himself playing the songs on the album, backed up by some of the musicians on the CD.
He doesn’t have a favourite song on the album, saying it “depends on my mood,” but one that stands out to him is an original song, written by Russwurm and friend Gerry Boppre, called “It’s A Living.” He tried to emulate a country music hero of his while writing and recording.
“I was always a Waylon Jennings fan, and that one is very much done in the Waylon style of the ’70s and ’80s – the outlaw style,” he said. “It is on the rock end of things in country music.”
As a tribute to his dad, Russwurm covered six of Lynn Russwurm’s songs, and even got him to play on a few of the tracks.
“The album is about one-third my stuff, one-third his stuff, and one-third traditional stuff,” said Russwurm. “He was thrilled. He has involved right from the outset, at all the sessions. We spent a lot of days in the studio. There is a lot of work that goes into this.”
His goal with the album and the CD release party on Apr. 16 is to reacquaint country music fans with the classics, and hopefully, make some new fans out of the deal.
“I hope it helps to keep this kind of music alive. People are always talking about “real country” and they call it roots music now, or Americana. Some of it is getting scarce and dying out, and I am hoping, along with the people out there who still like it, that I am sensing a trend among young people,” he said.
“A lot of younger people tend to like their music pure. A lot of the stuff I am playing, the guys aren’t around anymore, and you find someone who does play it, they are likely to be 18 years old. They want authenticity. I am hoping that all those people that like that old stuff, will help a resurgence. I am going to drag country music kicking and screaming back to its roots.”
He says The Commercial Tavern is the place to start.
“Maryhill is the one place that still has real country music. It is like going back in time,” he said of the venue. “The guys playing on the CD are going to be at the show, and are all excellent musicians, so if you want to hear some good traditional country music, this is it. This will be my brand of the country. It is a little bit more retro.”
Self Portrait is available for purchase for $10 at the CD release party, but is also available for download on iTunes, and streaming on Spotify. For more information about the album, and Russwurm’s career, visit his website at www.lancerusswurm.com.