Meet Brandon Aly
Brandon Aly is best known for his work as a founding member and drummer of the band Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, whose platinum debut release “Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars” featured the hit songs “What I Am” and “Circle”. Additionally, Mr. Aly has toured throughout the United States and Canada, as well as performed one offs with Bo Diddley, Paul Simon and others. He has appeared on several television shows including the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Brandon currently resides in the Texas Hill Country, outside of Austin, TX where he continues to work as a live and studio drummer, as well as a music educator.
As a third generation professional musician, music has always been a part of Brandon’s life. His grandmother, an accomplished pianist, director and published composer and his mother a talented pianist and singer. It was with his mother that Brandon first performed professionally at the age of six. Attendance at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX continued Mr. Aly’s education. Noted alumni of “The Arts Magnet” include , John Bush and Kenny Withrow (of the New Bohemians), and drummer Aaron Comess (of the Spin Doctors), as well as Grammy award winning artists Edie Brickell, Erykah Badku, Roy Hargrove, and Nora Jones.
After graduating from high school, Brandon continued to study at Richland College under the guidance of legendary jazz drummer Paul Guerrero. It was during this time that Brandon combined efforts with fellow music student Brad Houser to form the band Edie Brickell and New Bohemians. This initial union began a collaboration that would come to include his high school classmates and result ultimately with the platinum release of “Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars” on Geffen Records.
After leaving the New Bohemians in 1989, Brandon worked briefly with singer/songwriter Rhett Miller (the Old 97’s) before joining with Jamaican born singer, Leroy Shakespeare to form the band, Ship of Vibes. During the five years of touring and a subsequent CD release entitled “Jubilation” on Carpe Diem Records, Brandon began exploring different cultures of music and began studying the styles of African, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music. Brandon performed with various drum and dance ensembles and even accompanied the Dallas Black Dance Theatre in piece choreographed by Chuck Davis.
Brandon’s drumming with the New Bohemians was a big influence on me as I was getting my own drumming together in Dallas. He always comes up with creative unique parts for the song, with a great feel. His playing helped show me early on, that playing the song is what counts.
– Aaron Comess Spin Doctors, Joan Osborne
Mr. Aly moved to the Texas Hill Country in 1995 with his wife to start a family. Within a few short years of settling in his new home town of Blanco, Texas, Brandon became a member of Zydeco Blanco, an energetic dance band rooted in the music and grooves of Louisiana.
He also continued to study the African style of drumming by studying with Master Drummer Alseny Sylla from Boke, Guinea as well as various Master Drummers and teachers such as Yamoussa Camara (Les Ballet Merveilles) and Mohamed Camara (Percussion de Guinea). Performing for a short time with the Austin based Lannaya, West African Drum and Dance Ensemble.
In 1998, the members of Edie Brickell and New Bohemians reunited to write and record two songs for a “Best of” CD release, “The Ultimate Collection” on Hippo Records. The two songs were not initially released, but the project prompted the reformation of the band. In 1999, the original members of New Bohemians went to Montauk, New York to write and record the independently released “Live Montauk Sessions”. October 2004 had the New Bohemians collaborating again on new material that was later recorded in spring of 2005 at Trout Studios in Brooklyn, New York. The album “Stranger Things” was released on Concord/Fantasy Records in July of 2006. Following the release, the band toured throughout the United States and Canada, performing at such notable venues as the Fillmore in San Francisco, Summerstage in New York City’s Central Park, and the Calgary Folk Festival, as well as an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
As an educator Mr. Aly began working as the Assistant Band Director and Director of Percussion Studies for the Blanco Independent School District in 2005. He assists with all band classes from 5th grade through 12th grade, as well as directing the High School Drumline and Percussion Ensembles. During his tenure, ensembles and soloist under Mr. Aly’s direction have consistently received first division ratings at the annual Texas UIL State Solo and Ensemble Contest. Mr. Aly also teaches weekly private drum set lessons at the Hill Country Sound Situation music school, as well as weekly West African and Latin percussion classes.
Brandon continues to reside in the Hill Country and continues to perform regularly with Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, Zydeco Blanco, as well as keeping the beat for Texas Blues Guitar Legend Bobby Mack.
Professional affiliations: ASCAP, Texas Music Educators Association, Percussive Arts Society