Ben Gallaher
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Ben Gallaher

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"Belmont University Student Ben Gallaher Sings Behind Pennsylvania’s Prison Walls on ‘Barbed Tour’"

Nashville, Tennessee (PRWEB) December 20, 2012

Ben Gallaher, Nashville country music artist and Pennsylvania native, has embarked on a ‘Barbed Tour’ into four Pennsylvania Correctional Institutions during the holiday season.

“Johnny Cash is one of my music heroes, and certainly one of the first songs people recognize him for is Folsom Prison Blues. It has universal appeal. Although Cash wrote the song in 1953 about the infamous Folsom Prison in California, the response from inmates around the country prompted him to do a prison tour,” said Gallaher.

Gallaher has been asked to perform at four correctional institutions during his winter break from Belmont University: Camp Hill Correctional Institution, the largest in the state, Chester, Somerset, and Fayette, near Pittsburgh. The twenty-year-old performed two shows last Christmas at Camp Hill’s Correctional Institution, and the administration said it was so well received that they’ve invited him back and also spread the word to other correctional facilities.

What’s on Gallaher’s set list? “Folsom Prison Blues is obviously a hit, but so is Tennessee Whiskey, Last Train, Mama Tried, and Old Red.”

“For every concert there’s an uncertainty an artist feels—not knowing if the audience will relate to your music or to your entertaining style. From the first shout out I gave to the group at Chester, in Philadelphia, they were on fire. By the time I played Johnny Cash’s "Folsom Prison," the energy was through the roof. I was the first country act to ever perform at Chester State Correctional Institution, and the staff said they never had a band or singer so well received. I was really pleased with that. Performing for inmates in prison is unlike any shows I've ever played,” says Gallaher.

Gallaher, a junior at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, majors in entertainment industry studies and performs weekly. In September, he won Snagajob’s Hourly Gig Contest, a national talent contest, and was chosen among 600 entrants to open for country music star Brantley Gilbert in Richmond, Virginia. “I come from a small town in Pennsylvania and write songs that tell stories about hard-working, America-loving people.”

An Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman, Gallaher will finish his ‘Barbed Tour’ with a hometown performance at Buck Wild’s Rode House, in Mechanicsburg, on December 29. Tickets are available at the door for people ages 21+. The show starts at 9 p.m.

To connect with Ben Gallaher Music, go to Facebook.com/BenGallaherMusic, or you can listen to his latest song released on iTunes titled “Last Train.” His self-titled album is also available on iTunes at Ben Gallaher. - Deeter Gallaher Group


"Camp Hill native Ben Gallaher follows Johnny Cash's lead by singing in prisons"

Country artist Ben Gallaher has found an enthusiastic audience behind Pennsylvania’s prison walls, following a path first blazed by one of his heroes, Johnny Cash.

On Thursday, Gallaher performed twice inside the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, for an audience of about 200 inmates.

“It went damn good, really good,” said Gallaher, a Cedar Cliff High School graduate, after the shows. “They were just really into it. That’s what an artist hopes for.” Gallaher, a Camp Hill native who lives in Nashville, Tenn., said he decided to spend his winter break from Belmont University performing before inmates. He performed at the Camp Hill prison last year, and found the experience rewarding.

“It’s one of my favorite gigs,” he said of the prison shows. “When you visit behind the walls and barbed wire, it’s a world few of us can imagine. This is a small way I can share the power of country music with people who might never see me play live or ever hear my album.”

Gallaher’s “Barbed Tour” started earlier this month at the State Correctional Institution in Chester, where he also received an enthusiastic response.

“It was insane from the first shout out,” he said. “They were just on fire. I think I was the first country guy they had ever had in there.”

He plans two more prison shows during the first week of January, at state facilities in Fayette and Somerset counties. In between, he’ll perform a regular public show on Dec. 29 at Buck Wild’s Rode House on the Carlisle Pike in Hampden Twp.

The young singer and guitarist performs his own original songs from his self-titled first album, plus a recent song release titled “Last Train,” available on iTunes. He also plays cover songs from legendary country stars like Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr. and, of course, Cash.

“That’s what I end my show with, ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’” Gallaher said. “They just go nuts.”

Cash pioneered the link between country music and prison inmates, first with his 1955 song “Folsom Prison Blues,” followed by two live shows behind the walls of California’s Folsom Prison in 1968. Those shows were turned into a seminal album, “At Folsom Prison,” which reached No. 1 on the country charts and revitalized Cash’s then-flagging career.

That lesson is not lost on Gallaher, son of Camp Hill residents Anne and Corey Gallaher, who is pursuing his career as a country artist while also studying the entertainment industry at Belmont. “I’m really interested in learning the business,” he said.

Normally he tours with a four-piece band, billing his sound as “Country music with an edge.” But he’s going solo during his holiday break prison tour, with just his guitar, his voice — and a true captive audience.

And a lot of guards, keeping an eye on the audience.

“It’s so different than anything else I do,” he said. “I’ve learned how to work a crowd full of inmates.

“They know all the words to the cover songs. I can see them out there, singing along.”
- The Patriot News


Discography

Debut Album - Ben Gallaher - April 2012 - Reached #49 on iTunes country chart

Single - "Last Train" - October 2012

Photos

Bio

After playing back woods bars and Pennsylvania prisons, Ben Gallaher came to Nashville, Tennessee with 12 songs, 6 strings, and 1 dream. He wasted no time working on his self-titled debut album Ben Gallaher, which climbed to #49 on the iTunes country charts.

As the songwriter for every track on the album, Ben says, “I write about the common man, because those are the people I grew up with. In every song there’s a story about life, and what we hope to become and the highs and lows on our journey.” Not only do his lyrics and melodies make you want to pump your fist and sing along, but as an extremely talented lead guitarist with a stage presence beyond his years, he can entertain and engage an audience. Chicken pickin’ rock ‘n’ roll riffs woven into country rock anthems are distinguishing his music style.

The twenty-year-old has captured national media attention, built an adoring online community, and is proving himself as a singer, songwriter, lead guitarist, and entertainer. Sharing the stage with headlining acts Brantley Gilbert, Colt Ford, Craig Campbell, Frankie Ballard, and more, Ben is fire and kerosene on stage. His live performance is full of an energy and enthusiasm that comes from deep within his DNA. With equal parts passion, heart, and hard work, he is building a loyal fan base one song and one town at a time.