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The music just keeps coming

Lynn Russwurm’s CD release party – and the kickoff of the concert series in Gore Park – may have been cancelled last Sunday, but chances are you’ll hear some of his new tunes throughout the summer as he joins the performers on the bandstand.

A tireless musician, songwriter, producer and record collector, Russwurm’s new album, Singing My Songs, presents 20 of the more than 600 songs he’s written over more than six decades in the music business.

For his latest release, the Floradale resident picked the tunes he wanted to highlight and that best matched his vocal range – “My voice has changed over the years,” he laughed.

On Singing My Songs, the octogenarian is joined by a lineup of musicians he’s worked with over the years, including Bob Tremblay, Doug Dietrich, Grant Heywood, Gerry Smith, Lance Russwurm and Guylaine Basque.

“I got all the musicians that I wanted on it,” he said of the new album.

Russwurm spent almost a year and a half on the project, getting it just right.

“I’m really happy with this CD. I want to get the songs out there, so this is way to do it,” he said of a process he’s been involved with for decades.

Russwurm grew up listening to his father’s collection of old 78s and started playing guitar when his was in his teens. At 19, he moved from the family farm near Hanover to Kitchener, where he got a job at B.F. Goodrich. He formed his first band, the Pine River Troubadors, and played the local bar circuit. At 21, he had his own program on a Kitchener radio station.

In 1985, Russwurm retired from B.F. Goodrich and devoted his attention to music full-time. Along with songwriting and playing guitar and bass, he collects and sells rare country albums. The two upstairs rooms of his house on Floradale Road are stacked floor to ceiling with shelves and crates of old 78s, some 6,000 of them. Never one to use a computer to keep things organized, Russwurm simply relies on his memory when cataloging all 30,000 albums scattered throughout his house, a barn and storage unit.

He’s sold records through the mail, at market booths and tent sales of his own, attempting to prune down the collection over the years.

He’s also produced compilations of country music out of his collection for a company in England. The last 78 record was produced in 1959, so all of that music is now part of the public domain. As well, the 14 albums he produced in the late 1980s that were released on cassette were remastered for CD.

In addition to those recordings, Russwurm has had a hand in producing albums for others. He remains as active as ever, including acting as organizer of the Sunday Night Showcase concerts in Elmira’s Gore Park.

While weather cancelled the release party, Russwurn will be joining acts as they perform over the summer, so some of those newly-recorded tunes will be heard in Gore Park. He’ll be profiling a few of them when he takes a larger role in the Jimmy Phair concert on June 24, for instance.

Russwurm’s creation, the summer concert series has grown in popularity with both audiences and performers: he has no problem filling the schedule, which expands again this year.
“They all enjoy playing here,” he said of the musicians. “The people are really receptive.

“We have a winning combination.”

The goal for each of the concerts this summer is to get people out to enjoy live shows, music at its most infectious.

The showcase series runs Sunday evenings, 7-9 p.m., in Gore Park.

  • June 10: U-Turn
  • June 17: Randy Morrison & the Flatt River Band
  • June 24: Jimmy Phair
  • July 1: Grass Tax
  • July 8: Crossover Junction reunion
  • July 15: Grant Carson Band
  • July 22: Grassland
  • July 29: Rhyme ‘n’ Reason
  • Aug. 5: Ephraim Frey & Old Tyme Country
  • Aug. 12: Burie Family
  • Aug. 19: Paul Weber Family Band
  • Aug. 26: Doug DeBoer & Hard Ryde
  • Sept: 2: TBA

 

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