Russo bearing ‘Burden of Proof’ in pair of Dickens concerts

Berlin, Md., musician-songwriter Bryan Russo is premiering his fourth album this weekend with a pair of shows in a magical southern Delaware location.

Russo’s newest release, “Burden of Proof,” will be celebrated with back-to-back shows at the Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1. The shows will feature Russo’s new band, Bargain Scotch, and will be “all-ages” shows, Russo said in an interview between sets at a local eatery.

“With this album, I wanted to do a release party at a proper theater,” Russo said. And since the Dickens exudes a certain vaudevillian elegance, Russo said he thought it the perfect place for his new work, which he said is his interpretation of an “American songbook” kind of collection.

“It’s kind of a hidden gem,” Russo said of the theater, praising his friend Richard Bloch for all he has done to further not only the theater itself but arts in the area in general.

Russo, 38, said his music reflects his desire to bring together lyrics that touch on “large subject material” and “very danceable hooks.” Attempting to describe his latest work, he said, “It’s thinking music you can drink to. … I feel like I’m maturing as a songwriter,” he said, adding that his latest work reflects that.

A native of Pennsylvania but a longtime resident of the Eastern Shore, Russo said he feels as though the area itself and its unique vibe have “pushed me to try new things.” “Burden of Proof” pays homage to a number of genres, ranging from ’50s rock to New Orleans jazz.

Joining Russo, who plays guitar and piano, in addition to performing lead vocals on “Burden of Proof,” are the members of Bargain Scotch: Christopher Shearer on vocals, bass, spoons and guitars; Ryan Jared on drums and guitars; Jim Miller on trumpet and flugelhorn; and “Big Mike” Noyes on mouth harp.

From the toe-tapping New Orleans jazzy “Too Many Cooks” to the classic rockiness of “Talk of the Town,” Russo’s newest collection of tunes hits a lot of musical territory. With his unique, bluesy vocal style, Russo’s music draws listeners in for a journey through American music, complete with twists and turns and interesting vantage points.

A classically trained musician, Russo has shared the stage with national acts including The Black Keys, the Arctic Monkeys, Trombone Shorty, Orleans Avenue, the Marshall Tucker Band, Shooter Jennings and G. Love & Special Sauce.

“I just hope people will come and listen and check it out,” Russo said of the weekend release parties.

Admission to the release party shows at Dickens Parlour Theatre costs $25 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available at the Dickens Parlour Theatre box office at 35715 Atlantic Avenue, Millville, or online at Both the Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1, shows start at 7 p.m.

For more information on Russo’s music and performances, and to preview or purchase his music in digital form, go to