Heard on the Hill: Former Aide Taps Into Occupy Angst

Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:14pm

A few weeks ago, he was the scheduler/operations manager for New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s Manhattan office. Today, Danny Ross is unemployed and very fired up about giving voice to the growing economic ennui through his music.

Ross believes he was a casualty of the mandatory belt tightening that has gripped the Capitol in the past year, but he stresses that he bears no ill will toward the office where he worked for the past five years.

“They were in a hard position of having to make tremendous budget cuts, [that] from what I understand, Congressional offices haven’t seen in years,” he said.

Rather than wallow, Ross has decided to rage against the machine by rededicating himself to a music career that’s been largely on hold since the release of his debut album, “Danny Ross Presents One Way,” back in 2009.

“I’ve sort of become, without asking for it, a poster boy for how people are feeling right now,” Ross said, pointing to the general malaise of those who’ve come out to forget their troubles for just a spell at each stop along his recent “Laid-Off Tour.”

“Equal opportunity is the American dream. … And right now, people can’t participate in the American dream,” he said.

Ross rolled into town Friday for the final leg of his tour, playing his farewell show at Iota Club & Cafe in Arlington that evening while mapping out plans to swing by the Occupy DC camp Saturday for an impromptu jam session. On the set list: a cover of the proletariat folk tune “Banks of Marble,” immortalized by Pete Seeger.

After the tour, it’s back to work — in the studio, anyway. Ross and his nine-piece backup band will be recording their indie label release this winter with the new album set to drop next spring.