brother ben music stage
john paul white
billy allen and the pollies
brother ben music stage schedule
SATURDAY, OCT 15:
9:30-10:30am – Hiroya Tsukamoto
11:00am-12:00pm – Doc Dailey
12:30-1:45pm – Rollin’ in the Hay
2:15-3:30pm – Wanda Band
3:45-5:00pm – Billy Allen & the Pollies
SUNDAY, OCT 16:
10:00-11:00am – Sarah Lee Langford & Her Band
11:30am-12:30pm – Alicja-Pop
1:00-2:15pm – John Paul White
2:30-4:00pm – Speckled Bird
about the artists
artists listed in order of appearance
Hiroya Tsukamoto is a one-of-a-kind composer, guitarist, and singer-songwriter from Kyoto, Japan. He began playing the 5-string banjo when he was 13 and took up the guitar shortly after. In 2000, Hiroya received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the U.S. He formed his own group in Boston, Interoceanico, which consists of unique musicians from different continents including Latin Grammy Colombian singer Marta Gomez. The groups released 3 acclaimed records. Hiroya has released 3 solo albums and has been leading concerts internationally including several appearances at the Blue Note (NYC), United Nations, and Japanese National Television (NHK). In 2018, Hiroya won 2nd place in International Finger Style Guitar Championship.
Doc Dailey has been writing and performing original music around the South for years. From Muscle Shoals, AL, his sound has been described as Americana, Indie-Folk, and Gritty Southern Pop.
Rollin’ in the Hay is an American alternative bluegrass band from Birmingham, Alabama. The group is listed in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame as “Music Acheivers.” Starting out in local clubs including the War Eagle Supper Club in Auburn, Alabama, in 2001 they were featured on the Pickin’ on Widespread Panic: A Bluegrass Tribute Album. In 2012, the band performed at Bonnaroo Music Festival and the Briar Patch Festival in 2015.
The Wanda Band is only serious about one thing—how much fun they’re having. 27-year-old Wand Wesolowski has spent the last decade in Huntsville, AL focused on writing and performing catchy original songs that speak on sensitive matters of the heart. Sharing insights from adolescence with unapologetic sincerity, Wanda aims to connect her audience, promising beautifully crafted melodies listeners can’t help but sing to. With 2 self-released collections of songs already under her belt, she met bassist of ToY ShoP Andrew Sharpe who encouraged her to form an early version of the Wanda band in 2018. Drummer Nick Recio joined in 2019 after almost a decade on the road with acts like Black Jacket Symphony, the Artisinals, and Nashville’s Great Peacock. The Band teamed up with keyboardist Bransen Edwards and producer/engineer Jay Burgess of the Pollies to record their debut album “One-Hit” which was released in 2020.
From Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Billy Allen & the Pollies live up to the musical legacy of the Shoals area. The Pollies are the live and touring band for many noted songwriter and performers, and Billy Allen is an electric front man and entertainer. The Pollies seamlessly blend and arrange the root elements of rock and roll while forging into new territory to create songs that sound so natural and effortless that listeners don’t notice the intrinsic complexity and massive undertaking that each track represents.
According to The Bitter Southerner, “Everyone talks about Muscle Shoals soul, but on one ever talks about Muscle Shoals rock. The Pollies might change that.”
Backed by a gang of Birmingham’s greasiest rockers, including members of the Dexateens and Vulture Whale, Sarah Lee Langford and Her Band are blessed with loose limbs as well as deadly aim. Much like Langford’s own musical roots, these songs embody the best elements of the Old South and the New West via a well-crafted blend of Appalachian austerity, cosmic country, and honky tonk funk that should appeal to fans of Gillian Welch, Joni Mitchell, Loretta Lynn, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. And while the grooves are satisfying, and the melodies are indelible, it’s Langford’s incisive writing style that will keep listeners coming back for more. She clearly knows Americana archetypes inside and out, but it’s her ability to imbue them with contemporary humor, beauty, and acidity that gives this outfit its big heart and sharp claws.
Alicja Trout (Alicja-pop) first became infatuated with songwriting at 16 years old when she heard a tape by a classmate’s older brother Tim Feleppa. Tim made music on a 4-track cassette recorder in his little NYC apartment. It was like nothing she ever heard on the radio, and she wanted to make some too. Several of her friends were really into this tape of great poppy lo-fi songs, experimental drones, and cool sound effects. Several years later she got her own recording set-up and was trading ideas and tapes with musical friends. She was a part of the “4-trackers” who were making songs at home with headphones and whatever weird cheap or discarded gear they could get their hands on. This was Alicja’s biggest influence and inspiration for Alicja-pop. Even though her musical style can manifest as rough and dark, Prince was always a mainstream influence because of his diverse catalog and the fact that he wrote and recorded it all.
Each song on this new Alicja-pop album explores a different style and theme. “Howlin’” is a compilation of several years of songs. Some tracks are minimal with one instrument, some are studio recordings with layers of vocal harmonies and instrument overdubs. Some tracks fall in between. Each song included on “Howlin’” is crafted with catchy hooks and easy flowing chord progressions. Alicja-pop is both a solo endeavor and a group venture. Alicja-pop performs as a live band currently featuring Lori McStay, Jared McStay, and Andrew Geraci. Alicja Trout also performs with River City Tanlines, Mouserocket, and Sweet Knives (ex-Lost Sounds).
John Paul White grew up in Loretto, Tennessee, and now lives in Florence, Alabama, not far from Muscle Shoals. He has cultivated a music career in Nashville for two decades, first as a songwriter for a major publisher, then half of The Civil Wars—a groundbreaking duo that won 4 Grammies before disbanding in 2012. Because the Civil Wars were so hard to categorize, White has earned a fanbase among indie rock listeners, folk audiences, Americana outlets and AAA radio.
Speckled Bird is a band from Florence, AL. Their first single, “Tonight,” was released in May 2020 by Single Lock Records. The group consists of songwriter and guitar player Adam Morrow, guitar player and engineer Jamie Sego, keyboardist and engineer Ben Tanner, bassist and engineer Parker McAnnally, and drummer and label guru Reed Watson. For musicians who have been a part of Alabama Shakes, John Paul White’s band, Cedric Burnside’s band, Belle Adair, and more, Speckled Bird represents something new.
why 'brother ben'?
The Brother Ben Music Stage is named in honor of folk artist B.F. Perkins.
Alabama farm boy, underage Merchant Marine, U.S. Marine and Presidential bodyguard, FBI agent, revival tent minister, celebrated folk artist from Fayette, Alabama. All are chapters in the remarkable life of Benjamin Franklin Perkins who, like his namesake, followed his curiosities, ambitions, and higher callings to explore the world, serve his country and free his soul. He attended the Kentuck Festival of the Arts for many years and his artwork is in many private collections and museum collections around the world.