“There’s no 5 p.m. When I’m trying to sleep I’ve got songs in my head.”
This is the life of Ben Gallaher, a native central Pennsylvanian who is taking the country world by storm. A Cedar Cliff graduate, Gallaher will be opening for Justin Moore at the Great American Outdoor Show at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg on Saturday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m.,sponsored by NRA Country.
Gallaher calls the show “an honor,” as he recalled seeing Justin Moore perform in his youth at the same venue, and now gets billed alongside him. He said the show will “be acoustic, so it’ll be a little stripped down.”
Now, as he returns to his home state with a Sony Nashville record deal, countless shows with the likes of Tyler Farr, Craig Campbell and Lee Brice, and a studio record in the works, he couldn’t be more excited.
Music has always been a part of his life, especially country.
“I grew up on 90’s country music, it’s really been my thing. I’m a country music fanatic,” Gallaher said.
His initial goal was to head to Nashville, Tenn. to attend Belmont University, one of the nation’s premier music schools.
“I wanted to learn the business of music,” he explained.
His attendance would have to wait, though, as he took a year to attend a Penn State campus. What seemed like a setback, however, became a helpful preparation.
“It ended up being the best thing because it gave me a year. I wouldn’t have been quite ready,” Gallaher said.
The next year he was accepted to Belmont and took the trip down to Nashville, which he adjusted to quickly.
“It’s just a hub of not only country music but music in general. You can meet so many people from all over the country and the world. If you surround yourself with musicians who are better than you, you can only get better,” he said.
But even while studying and taking classes at the university, Gallaher had his mind on stardom and getting himself out there.
“I was obsessed with trying to figure out how to get on the road,” the musician said.
He put together a band, and soon they started booking their own shows all over the east coast and mid-west, playing whenever they got a chance.
“It would be a huge culture shock. You would go from being in a van playing country music to the classroom,” Gallaher said.
One of his biggest breaks was a direct result of his schooling, via one of his professors who turned out to be a Sony executive.
Gallaher said he had told the professor he was a country musician, but “didn’t show music on her.” Later in the year she approached him and inquired about his music, and he shared his sound with her.
“A few days later another executive reached out,” he said.
This resulted in a number of showcase spots over the summer and, in October 2014, a record deal with Sony Nashville. To have a major label deal at his young age was huge.
Nashville, he explained, is often labeled “a 10-year town,” meaning you can expect to put in 10 hard years of work as a musician before your break comes.
“If you’d told me years ago I’d have a deal right after college I’d say you’re crazy. I was prepared to go ten years. I’m just so blessed,” Gallaher said.
Now Gallaher has been all over the states, from Florida and Missouri to Kansas and Iowa, where one of his most memorable shows took place.
“We played with Tyler Farr in Sioux City, Iowa. The energy n the room, the crowd, the venue, everything hit on. It’s hard to explain,” he said.
Still, he admits, “There’s really not much that tops playing in Pa.,” mostly because of the support of hometown fans.
“They’ve been behind me since day one. They’re incredible,” Gallaher said.
For more information on the show or for tickets, visit https://www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org/explore-the-show/nra-country-concert.