Keeping it real

Billy Brown brings his country
roots to J.D. Legends

Billy Brown performs Saturday at J.D. Legends

By Tim Walker

Billy Brown certainly is the real deal: friendly, talented, down-to-earth, and country as all get-out – and he’s got his Master’s degree to boot.

Hailing from Corbin, Kentucky, down on the Tennessee border, 45-year-old Billy Brown has been busy recording, touring the country, and bringing his familiar boot-stomping, country rock sound to a fan base that stretches from the big city to clear down in the holler. And later this week, Billy Brown will be bringing that rocking country sound from down south to local entertainment complex J.D. Legends for a free performance on Saturday, January 20th. J.D. Legends is located at 65 Millard Drive in Franklin, Ohio, and the show starts at 7 p.m. Admission is free. 

Like so many things in the world of entertainment, country music has certainly changed over the years. Growing up in a mobile home in West Virginia – as I did – I heard a great deal of it, on both the television and my parents’ stereo. Buck Owens and Roy Clark “a-pickin and a-grinnin” on Hee Haw, along with Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, the Statler Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys, and weekly musical hours with Johnny Cash, Porter Waggoner, and Dolly Parton – all of this presented a certain style and scope which, for me, still defines country music. These days, however, your average country singer is just as likely to be wearing a ball cap onstage as he is a cowboy hat, and there’s not a sequin in sight. [Look carefully though, and you still might be able to glimpse a steel guitar or two.]

“I am a country musician,” Billy Brown said recently, speaking to the Dayton City Paper by phone from his Kentucky home. “I’ve been a musician, really, just about all my life. I started out as a keyboard player, and then I went into singing in school choirs.”

“I actually got a scholarship to sing at the University of Kentucky, where I had a double major in vocal music and biology,” Brown laughs. “My mom is retired from nursing and my dad is retired from anesthesia, so I have that science background, and I actually wound up with a Master’s degree in business. I took a different career path for a while. Then, about five years ago, I really started getting into writing my own music. My friends were telling me ‘You know, you really need to record this music.’ It’s just one of those things – I didn’t want to die some day and say ‘Man, I wish I’d tried that.’ So I did it.”

Brown’s many fans are glad he took the leap. With heartfelt country songs like “She’s My Girl”, “Natural”, and ”Leave it Behind”, Brown has shown, time and again, that he’s in touch with what today’s country fans want to hear. Couple those with some of the more rocking tracks where Brown and his band cut loose a bit, and you’ve got an artist who knows how to please a crowd. 

“I’d definitely recommend ‘She’s My Girl”, says Brown when asked which songs he would suggest to music fans who aren’t familiar with his music. “That’s our newest single, and the song we’re really promoting. That’s definitely one of them. And ‘Middle of a Country Night’, that’s definitely a fun song, too.”

“We do a lot of work around with different children’s hospitals, and when we were shooting a music video for ‘Middle of a Country Night’ in Northern Kentucky, we invited some of the kids from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to come down to the show. We put them in the video – they’re onstage playing and just having a great time, and the scene sort of flips back and forth from me and the band to the kids playing.” 

When asked if he’s been busy, Brown says “We’ve been touring all over the place. We just got back from Des Moines, Iowa – we were playing at a casino out there, and it was just as cold out there as it was back here,” the musician laughs. “It was like going through a heat wave coming back home, when it started getting up to about 25. We thought about pulling out the shorts and T-shirts.” 

Country fans from Des Moines to Corbin to Dayton know and love Billy Brown’s music, and with Saturday night’s show being his first headlining performance at J.D. Legends, there’s no better place for a local country fan to be than right there in Franklin, in the middle of a country night. 

Billy Brown will be performing on Saturday, January 20th at J.D. Legends, 65 Millard Drive in Franklin, Ohio 45005. Admission is free, and the show starts at 7 p.m. For more information please call 937.746.4950 or go to or

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at

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