Growing up in the middle of nowhere, Northern Wisconsin where lumberjacks roam was the woodsy childhood of singer-songwriter BJ Stricker. Part of the last generation that actually played in the mud, Stricker’s upbringing centered around bikes, 4-wheelers & going up the road to get cookies from grandma while listening to music on grandpa’s record player.
Music has always been a release, first being able to express himself through a bass guitar at 12 years old. He learned his musical bearings in 6th grade pep band, finding himself in his first four-piece band as a 15 year-old freshman in high school. By 17 years old, he got his first six-string and wrote his first song during his first semester of college in a dorm room with his best friend. After college in Wisconsin, he bounced around quite a bit, living in Montana, New York, and North Dakota.
In 2014 he moved to Texas, briefly visiting New Orleans to immerse himself in the vivacious live music scene there. Energized with his passion for music, Stricker recorded his first EP Middle of the City in 2015. It was his first experience collaborating on original music with other musicians, including saxophonist Keith Anderson - who at the time was playing for Prince.
“All I could think was, ‘Oh my god. This is incredible.’ I was still finding my sound. But I knew that this was all I wanted to do. It’s what I’m meant to do.”
In June 2015 he met drummer Connor Pickle, and began writing songs with him. By February 2016, they had put together a five-piece band - giving Stricker the opportunity to cut his teeth booking his first shows. In early 2017 the band’s lineup included Ryan Dahir (sax), David Wilson (guitar) and Patrick Smith (bass); later on Luke Callaway would be a new addition, taking over drums from Pickle. After grooving with chemistry and playing just two shows together, they decided to record an album.
Driven by Stricker with a big & inviting folk rock-style acoustic sound, the full band brings warm accompaniment on electric guitar & saxophone with playful melodies influenced by the style of Dave Matthews, Neil Young and Amos Lee that gives their music a hint of blues and soul. The band released their 6-track record Roam as BJ Stricker & The Kings in November 2017, featuring an intimate listening party in Dallas. Currently the band is represented by 13th Floor Music and has been showcased this past year in Dallas-based festivals Cottonwood Arts Festival, Whistlestop Music Festival, and Deep Ellum Brewing’s Labor of Love.
The group recently released a live-recorded EP at The Rustic featuring two previously unreleased songs, with plans to produce another live album in 2019 with more new music.