Red Dye 5
Independant musician Hugh Ross doesn't look like much at first glance. Just a normal guy in jeans and a button-up shirt waiting for his turn at a coffeehouse open mic. The crowd barely glances at him as he picks up his guitar and steps behind the microphone. Then he starts singing. The song is "The Goodbye Song," an original piece from his debut album "Red Dye #5," and the crowd takes immediate notice. His strong guitar style, catchy lyrics and sonorous, passionate voice are all demanding attention, which his audience gives in spades. When he is done, he quietly thanks the listeners and walks away to the sound of applause where only moments before was rapt silence. This is a typical description of a performance by Williamsport, PA singer/songwriter Hugh Ross. His poignant lyrics and touching voice are bringing audiences to attention at shows all over Pennsylvania. And now with the release of his first album "Red Dye #5," Hugh says he hopes to reach a much larger audience with his music. "All I want is a chance to change people's ideas about what music should be. We don't have to sit there and wait for the rest of the world to create the next "Beatles" or "James Taylor" or "Third Day." We don't have to sit idly by and complain about popular music and wish for something better in the future. I'm out to inspire people right now." Not that Hugh considers himself to be the next John Lennon. Far from it. Ross comments that though he has a long way to go before he reaches his goals, he feels he "has a lot to offer people if they care to listen." Rather than getting a big head from the attention he has received lately, he instead seems humbled by the warm reception that the local crowds have given him. He says, "I think that it's great that people are willing to take a chance and listen to someone for two hours that they've never even heard of. It shows that there's a lot of love for good music out there, and I want to live up to that." And live up to it he does. From local bars and churches to coffeehouses and volunteer concerts, Hugh has gained a small, but loyal and growing, fan base. When asked about recording the album, Hugh replies, "It's great to finally realize a dream that I've been chasing for so long. I think that people are going to be really surprised with the results." Ranging from down and dirty acoustic numbers to full chamber orchestra backup, "Red Dye #5" showcases the best of Hugh's songwriting talents. "Yeah, there were some songs that I wanted to include" says Hugh, "but if everything goes well, the next album will have those lost favorites and more." Of his fellow musicians and techs on the project Hugh can only say, "Great people and extremely talented." Hugh searched the talent pool and came up with local musicians from the "Uptown Music Collective" and other hot spots. Williamsport, PA "Musician at Large" Johnny J. Blair is featured on piano, and Hugh remarks that Blair's performance is "beautiful." Ross says his experiences working with Scott Francis and Hunter Wentzler of "Mind's Eye Music Studios" and "Silver Sound Productions" respectively were "memorable and highly enjoyable. These are guys that really know what they are doing and were so open to suggestions and styles for the project. We ended up with a terrific album Hugh currently lives in Montoursville, PA with his wife Lisa.