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Ronnie O’Briant “Covers All the Bases”

Charlie Cambell, Ronnie O’Briant and John Campbell owners of the Dead Dog Saloon, at January’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Courtesy photo.
Charlie Cambell, Ronnie O’Briant and John Campbell owners of the Dead Dog Saloon, at January’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Courtesy photo.

Old-school rock fans of the late 1990s and early Millennium may remember Echo 7, Ronnie O’Briant’s and Dave Sharrock’s original rock act based in Myrtle Beach. The band was active between 1995 and 2004 and toured on a national release “One Step Away” on In De Goot/Universal Records in 2003. Though Echo 7 would eventually call it quits, singer, songwriter, guitarist O’Briant is performing now more than ever in venues from North Myrtle Beach to Pawleys Island. From solo acoustic shows to hard rock trios, and everything in between, O’Briant’s successful strategy to stay busy, he says, is in “variety.”

O’Briant plays electric guitar and fronts Gray Sky Revival, a three-piece rock act with bassist John Moore, and drummer Freddy Ackerman. The band will perform 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Friday, March 18, at The Island Bar in Pawleys Island. Pale Horse, an acoustic trio features O’Briant, guitarist Michael DiVirgilio and veteran rock vocalist Frank Braddock.

Pale Horse will perform 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Saturday March 19 at the OD Lounge in North Myrtle Beach. Additionally O’Briant performs an acoustic duo with DiVirgilio called the Sidewalk Saints. Chasing Revelry is the unplugged acoustic version of Gray Sky Revival.

In season O’Briant plays six shows per week, sometimes more. Even in the off-season he’s still managing three to four shows per week. To what does he credit this kind of success?

“The strategy is [to offer] different versions that are unlike the others,” said O’Briant. “Plus I have a lot of different [musical] interests, and one might not fit with the other. Gray Sky Revival is our rock project and our outlet for original material. Sidewalk Saints is all about the widest variety of music possible—we play anything and everything.

There are venues that want a full band, others who want acoustic duos, and I’ve got two to choose from, each with a different set list and vibe. Pale Horse is an acoustic trio, and I’ve got the solo thing, too. So all that works to get us gigs, plus the hard work of SongByrd Entertainment and Scott Byrd [booking agent], who really keeps me busy. It’s all about covering the bases.”

In his modesty O’Briant has failed to mention “talent,” the real secret to his continued success. He was voted into the Dead Dog Saloon Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in January, and is known for superior song selection and skilled performances.

O’Briant, a prolific songwriter, has amassed a “ton of new songs,” he says, since last recording in 2012 with former acoustic partner, Sharrock, in Act II, a duo that performed locally for nearly 10 years.

He plans to record a solo project and a band EP, as schedules allow this spring and summer.

Check out O’Briant’s many musical incarnations and his obsession with the Carolina Panthers on his Facebook page, “Ronnie OBriant.”

Have a thought, comment or newsworthy item for Weekly Surge Music Notes? Send an email to pgrimshaw@sc.rr.com

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