Bio

Brent Malin is a singer-songwriter centered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has performed his original country and folk songs for audiences throughout the country–from California to his native state of Kansas and beyond. Malin’s most recent recording effort, Two Trees, captures his travels from the plains to the coasts and back, telling stories of lost souls, small towns, and big cities–all inflected by the down-home wisdom and music of his prairie roots.

Malin performs his unique blend of folk, country, and blues music both solo and with his hard rocking alt-country backing band, the Railroaders. Over the years he has had the opportunity to play such exciting venues as New York City’s classic folk club the Bitter End, San Francisco’s Cafe du Nord, the Wheeling Jamboree (the second oldest country radio show in the US), and Pittsburgh’s Club Cafe. He has also opened for such national acts as Diana Jones, Ike Reilly, Hoots and Hellmouth, the Derailers and Shovels and Rope.

Brent came to music largely through his mother, a pianist, choir director, book keeper, and jack-of-all-trades, as well as through growing up in the Methodist Church where both his mother and father sang in the choir. On hymns like “Blest Be the Tie that Binds,” Brent learned to sing the tenor line between his mother’s alto and his father’s bass; eventually Brent graduated to the bass line himself. While Brent was a college student, his grandpa Malin died, leaving Brent–his youngest grandson–the nylon string guitar he had purchased from the Sears-Roebuck catalog a number of years before. Eventually, Brent took his guitar to Iowa City, Iowa, a vibrant folk and roots-rock music scene and home to such nationally known talents as Greg Brown, Dave Moore, and Bo Ramsey. From there, Brent moved to Minnesota, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, and then to Pittsburgh, continuing to perform both solo and in a variety of rock, roots, and blues bands.

Brent’s first album Long, Long Way, was recorded in Oakland, California and released in 2007. Containing 12 original alt-country tunes, Long Long Way bears the marks of Brent’s years in the San Francisco music scene and features some of the finest bay area roots and rock musicians. His second album, Two Trees, released in 2013, showcases Brent’s continuing development as a songwriter over the past six years, during which he has gained a variety of experiences, including getting married and becoming a father. Backed by musicians from both Pittsburgh and San Francisco, the ten original songs on Two Trees run the gamut from contemporary roots-rock to traditional country. Including simple vocal and acoustic guitar numbers and full band songs with drums, bass, dobro, fiddle, and pedal steel guitar, both Long Long Way and Two Trees capture the Kansas-bred sounds that have helped Brent charm so-many east and west coasters with his mid-western ways. In a style that some have called “Country and Mid-Western,” Brent continues to connect with audiences with his engaging, intimate performances and true-to-the-heart songwriting.

When he isn’t performing music, Brent is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh.