Local country star Ben Gallaher to open Pa. Farm Show
While country music in 2013 wanted us believe that painted-on blue jeans, dirt roads and begging girls to get in trucks was about as country as it gets — nothing truly personifies the word “country” more than the Pennsylvania Farm Show. And this Friday night, Camp Hill’s Ben Gallaher will bring his blue collar country music to the large arena at the Farm Show Complex, kicking off the annual event.
“I’ve gone to the Farm Show all of my life — and I’ve seen concerts in the large arena where we will be playing, so all of this is crazy,” Gallaher said. “I couldn’t be prouder to be invited to perform in my home state and the largest indoor agricultural show in the United States.”
Gallaher and his band will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. this Friday and play a set full of original songs from his self-titled debut album, a few covers and even new, yet to be released original songs.
“We do our writing in Nashville and then we go out and try our songs live — a lot of times we can see from the stage how well they go over,” Gallaher said. “That is what happened with Last Train — playing it on the road last summer, it changed a little bit how we played it out so we re-recorded it in Nashville and released it as a single.”
On New Year’s Eve at Buck Wild’s Rode House in Mechanicsburg, Gallaher and the band did a live music video shoot for the re-recorded version of Last Train — which he hopes to have available soon. Prior to the holidays, Gallaher wrapped up his third Barbed Tour — which takes him and his guitar to state prisons across Pennsylvania to play his music for the inmates.
“The biggest thing with the Barbed Tour is having a positive effect on these people’s lives — and that’s why I do what I do — whether they are inmates or people in bars — to make a positive impact with my music,” Gallaher added. “Tennessee Whiskey, off my first record, has gotten the best response of any song that I’ve ever played — I don’t know what it is about it. One inmate said that they were in prison for 25 years and that song changed their life; another said that the hour and a half that I played for them — it was like they weren’t in prison. I can’t even explain what it is like to hear that stuff. It’s so powerful.”
Gallaher’s concert at the Farm Show will kick off what hopes to be a busy 2014 for the 21-year old musician. From Harrisburg, Gallaher and his band will travel to Morgantown, WV for another concert on Saturday night at Schmitt’s Saloon as part of his 2014 Full Speed Ahead Tour.
“This is the sixth time we are going back to Schmitt’s, and we are really starting to grow a fan base there,” Gallaher added. “I’m based in Nashville, but the majority of our playing is outside of town — in the past couple months we’ve hit Birmingham, Bowling Green and then we would shoot up to West Virginia and Pennsylvania whenever we could. We keep going back to these places and you see it keep growing — and there’s no substitute for growing a sustainable fan base organically and through touring.”
Gallaher said he plans to tour through the Mid-Atlantic region as often as possible through May on the weekends while he finishes up his degree — and then starting in the summer they will be on the road full time. For now though, Gallaher is just focused on putting on a great show at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
“I’m so blessed to have a career that takes me all over the country playing our music, and we get to see all kinds of places; but this Friday’s show really adds to it because my band will get to see what an awesome thing the Pennsylvania Farm Show is and how big it is,” Gallaher said. “We’re really looking forward to the Full Speed Ahead Tour and we will definitely be back to Pennsylvania many times during 2014!”
The free concert on Friday night starts at 7:30 p.m. in the large arena at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.