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A Beacon of Music Support -Brian Rusaw

I was introduced to Brian Rusaw by a mutual friend, Ron Castaldo, while playing an Oswego gid at the Bistro 197 a few years back. I was instantly aware of his generous outward spirit as applied to being pals and robustly in the direction of music from this area. I truly believe in people who roll up their sleeves and help to grow the garden to which we refer to as our music community. For any good endeavor. He is one of the guys who understands the following idea:” If everybody did just half of what they expect others to do – what a scene this would be.”

Sleeves rolled-up, he encourages the community to stay aware of the good music rolling through the area by way of social media networking. Most every day he sits in his studio and creates a new piece of music to support his announcements. As a result, the community IS more aware of the wealth of music culture existing in Oswego and Central New York.

Rusaw also plays avidly with his group Kickin’ Up Dust and also by playing in duos
in and around the Oswego area. I caught up with Brian at a recent show at Dominick’s in Scriba where the venue was initiating their brand-new deck for the summer music season.

Chuck Schiele: Hello Brian. Thank you for visiting with us here at Sounds of Syracuse. Summer is underway, and, thus, so is the music. We’ll talk about your music in a minute, but first, I’d like to touch on the way you encourage the culture of music in the Oswego area.

Brian Rusaw: I started posting some short pieces of music that I created around January of this year. Started slowly but I received a few comments asking for more. This slowly became a daily post. I then began advertising our gig dates for Kickin’ Up Dust and then eventually started posting upcoming gigs for fellow muscians, including a shout out to the venues supporting us musicians. It’s slowly growing and I am looking forward to creating a Facebook page to show all my work and the work of other local musicians.

CS: What drives you to do this?

BR: I have a passion for music and I find creating a piece of music that others can enjoy gives me great pleasure. Positive feed back from fellow musicians encourages me.

CS: How long have you been a musician, and how did your path in music begin?

BR: I have been playing out since the age of 11. When I was 11 I was fortunate enough to play at the Volney field days with a local band called The Country Showmen. They had just got back from Nashville and had a couple of records released.

CS: Please share some of the history of your music life.

BR: My mother taught me how to read music and play piano at the age of 8. I then learned how to play guitar from my cousin Mitch Motyka and took off from there. Played in many bands throughout the years that’s how I became friends with so many local musicians. It was not until the last 6 years I started playing out again. Joined Kickin’ Up Dust and been having a blast. I have a small home studio where I create my own music on a daily basis. That’s how the Snippet idea started.

CS: Tell us about your band Kickin’ Up Dust and your two duos.

BR: Kickin’ Up Dust gave me an opportunity to get out and play again. Five local guys who enjoy music as much as I do. We play mostly covers, classic rock, country and oldies with some blues mixed in. Chris Hood on lead vocals, Chuck Winterhalt on drums, Bob Breese on bass and newly added Morris Kuzio on keyboards. I play lead guitar. John Soukey was our original lead player but since has moved on. Kickin’ Up Dust duo is Chris Hood and myself. We play all the local venues in our area. We perform most of the same material our band does with a few more sing along songs.

CS: Please share with us a highlight or two from your music career.

BR: Working on Kim Simmonds computers has been my biggest thrill. Kim has become my friend and we speak on occasion about the music business. Kickin’ Up Dust played the State Fair in 2019 which was a great experience. Playing music with my grand kids is another pleasure I enjoy. I have 6 and they all enjoy music!

CS: Is there anything in particular you’d like to say to the Oswego and Syracuse music communities?

BR: Supporting each other in the music community is very important. By working together we can reach more potential music fans than we do by ourselves. Supporting the venues that support us is also important.

CS: What’s on your radar for the near future?

BR: I hope to expand my snippet post on Facebook to grow my supporters. I would like to make a full length CD of my original songs.

CS: How can we stay in touch with you and your music?

BR: Brian Rusaw on Facebook and Kickin’ Up Dust on Facebook.

Chuck Schiele
Chuck Schiele is an award-winning musician, art director, producer, editorialist, artist, activist, member of SaltCityChill.com and fan of the CNY music scene. To be considered for this column, please write chuck.schiele@gmail.com.