Winterfest 2014: Q&A with Bryan Gallo

Photo by Carrie Miller

Photo by Carrie Miller

A Long Island based singer and songwriter, Bryan Gallo’s words and melodies stick with his audiences long after his performances. His music is often inspired by the pressures and consequences of living life romantically and it reflects the sounds of both alternative country-rock and thoughtful pop music. 

Gallo began his solo career creating songs he found deeply personal, but still readily accessible. He has played at venues all over Long Island and has opened for notable acts such as Steve Wynn of The Dream Syndicate fame and Bobby Bare Jr.

Gallo now joins Live On the Vine’s Winterfest concert series this Saturday, when he plays at Waters Crest Winery at 2:30 p.m.

Whether it be performing at a small gig in a local bar or headlining at The Patchogue Theater, Gallo’s performances are a personal and memorable experience.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about playing on the North Fork? Either on stage or just playing as in having fun in general?

Bryan: What I enjoy most about performing on the North Fork is that the audiences I play for are usually very attentive, which is important for me if I’m performing songs of my own. I often get a lot of people approaching me after the performances, and that’s always a refreshing thing to know that people are actually listening instead of just treating the music as background noise.

Q: Tell us about your first ever gig on (or visit to) the North Fork.

Bryan: My first gig on the North Shore happened a few years back at Clovis Point Winery. I remember being a bit nervous only because I didn’t know what to expect from a winery crowd but the people in attendance were very open to hearing my own material and the staff were very friendly and accommodating.

Q: Are there any North Fork locations or attributes that inspire your music?

Bryan: The Northfork wine trail in general has definitely helped generate some ideas for lyrics of mine. The scenic drives, and the beautiful views at a lot of the different spots help the creativity flow. I know I’ve definitely written a few songs of mine while sitting down with a glass or two of NoFo wine – good wine definitely helps to write good songs.

Q: What do you think about Winterfest expanding genres by changing from “Jazz on the Vine” to “Live on the Vine”?

Bryan: I think the change to Live On The Vine is great. It allows for performers like myself who appreciate performing to the winery audiences but aren’t strictly Jazz musicians a chance to be a part of the festival. I think it also allows a chance for each winery to show off their own sense of character with the type of music they book now that they have more options.

Q: Do you like winters on Long Island?

Bryan: I’m not a huge fan of the shorter days during the Wintertime, but I do appreciate the fact that we have some beautiful views through all of the seasons here on Long Island, Winter included.

Q: Do you drink wine? If so, do you have a favorite North Fork wine (or vineyard)?

Bryan: I do drink wine, and I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by anything I’ve had at any of the North Fork vineyards. I am a pretty big fan of Clovis Point’s Chardonnays and the Cabernet Franc from Palmer vineyards was very memorable.

Q: What can people expect to hear at your shows?

Bryan: At my shows I often perform songs of my own with good mix of cover material as well. As a songwriter, I’ve been influenced by performers such as Neil Young and Ryan Adams so I think that comes out a bit in what I do. I try to cover material that I really enjoy, this way I know I’m putting 110% into it. It’s hard to sell a song to an audience if you’re just not truly into it. Luckily for me and the audience, this means the songs I cover range from Bob Dylan and the Beatles to Lady Gaga and 80’s pop tunes. The way I see it, a good song is a good song, no matter what genre.

Q: How do North Fork audiences differ from other areas you play, whether up Island or the city or wherever?

Bryan: Almost every North Fork audience I’ve played to has been very attentive and open to hearing material they’ve never heard before. It’s a lot easier to play some of the slower more introspective songs to crowds I’ve come across here as opposed to some of the bars and other spaces I play across Long Island.

Q: What do you think the North Fork needs? Or what would you do if you were elected mayor (or supreme ruler) of the North Fork?

Bryan: I think the only thing the North Fork needs is more of the singer-songwriter types to perform their own material more regularly if they have it. Not that it doesn’t happen already, but it’d be exciting to see a lot more of it.