Russ Pennavaria is a vocalist, songwriter and instrumentalist from a large Sicilian family in Chicago. Having played guitar since he was 14 he turned to songwriting to express his belief in the importance of family and of doing the right thing. His lyrics include concepts and issues of thinking and ethical dilemmas, concepts that often divide families and communities, that inspire people to think and share about issues that transcend barriers; issues that affect us all as humans. Russ is a skilled instrumentalist on keyboards/piano, guitar and flute (Native American) . The quality of his vocals and instrumentation produces music that reaches in and touches a person’s soul. This has given him a faithful following in all locations he has performed.
Music has been an important part of Russ’s life since he was 7. In the early years he was interested with the sounds of Glen Campbell, The Jackson Five and other popular Motown artists. In Junior High School he studied the sounds of Jim Croce, Seals and Croft and John Denver. As he got into High School, he leaned more towards Led Zeppelin, Rush, Van Halen and Aerosmith. He discovered the piano and over time developed his own style of playing keyboard instruments. In the early 2000’s he studied with Native American flutists and developed an amazing talent for seducing the haunting and surreal tones from the flute. All of these influences can be heard in Russ’s music.
He has performed in many venues from Festivals, Restaurant/Hotel lounges to schools and hospitals in Kansas City, Nashville, Houston and throughout Oregon and Washington and has played many genres. Russ is very comfortable performing in any environment. He adjusts his performance to the audience and venue. He is skilled at sensing the audience's emotion and altering his performance choices to best fit those emotions.
Russ is passionate in his life and that is clearly expressed in his music. Even though he may be interpreting a difficult story, his musical presentation touches the listener. He has a gift in that he can think and communicate in this way. He has an unrelenting drive to share his music with as many people as possible. Russ wants to help people by sharing his music. He is a believer that music can help heal and has a lifelong commitment of playing for those in need. He regularly perform at children's hospitals, schools for the blind, hospices, and also for boys and girls clubs. That is where he receives his greatest satisfaction. He welcomes the opportunity to perform so he might reach and help more people.