Songwriters Festival Headliners Showcase

Sign up for email updates from Dripping Springs Visitors Bureau

Facebook Instagram
Home > Events > Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival > Songwriters Festival Headliners Showcase

Songwriters Festival Headliners Showcase

Radney Foster has had to cancel the Friday Night Showcase under doctors orders. We wish Radney a speedy recovery and hope to have him in future festivals! After the announcement yesterday, we have put together an amazing show for the Friday night Headliner Showcase at Mercer Dancehall. Helen Darling, Billy Montana and James Dean Hicks will be performing! Hicks, Darling and Montana will perform on stage together in-the-round, trading stories and singing their songs. No, they are not Radney Foster, but still the show will be magical. We hope that you won't miss the magic!


Billy Montana has achieved five #1 country records: Lee Brice's “Memory I Don’t Mess With”(2021) and “Hard To Love”(2012), Garth Brooks' “More Than A Memory”(2007), Sara Evans' "Suds In The Bucket" (2004) and Jo Dee Messina's "Bring On The Rain" (2002). "Bring On The Rain" was nominated for awards by both the Recording Academy (Grammy) and the Country Music Association and reached Number 6 on the Adult Contemporary chart. "Suds In The Bucket" was the most played song by a female country artist in 2004 and has logged over 4 million broadcast performances. “More Than A Memory” is the fastest rising single in the history of country music, the only song to ever debut at #1 on both the Billboard and R & R charts. Montana also hit top 5 on the country music charts with the Jon Pardi single, “Night Shift”(2019). All the aforementioned singles have reached or exceeded platinum status.

Helen Darling is best known for her crossover #1 hit song “Bring On The Rain” recorded by Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw. It was nominated for a Grammy, an ACM and a CMA award. This song alone has achieved over 2 million airplays. Her co-writer on this song is none other than Billy Montana.
Darling started her career as a Chicago jingle singer on television and radio commercials for such clients as McDonald’s and 7-up. Her voice sang the familiar query, "Have you driven a Ford lately?" After moving to Nashville in 1993, Darling began singing song demos and back-up for such artists as Garth Brooks who asked Darling to sing on The Red Strokes on his In Pieces album. When Darling signed with MCA/Decca Records, Brooks returned the favor by singing on “Even God Must Get The Blues” on her debut album. Delbert McClinton and Lee Roy Parnell also made prominent cameo appearances on this freshman effort.
Darling’s song writing career shifted into high gear after her first notable cut, “ And The Angels Sang”, with Reba McEntire on a Christmas album, then came JoDee Messina and Tim McGraw with “ Bring On The Rain”. Since then more artists such as Little Big Town with “ Somewhere Far Away”, Sir Clif Richards with “Mistake” and Wynonna on Darling’s “ There’s A Place” have also been notably recorded. In 1998 Darling moved to Dripping Springs, Texas to pursue family and songwriting. She currently divides her time between Montana and Texas with her husband Dennis.

James Dean Hicks, coming in from Nashville, has had over 200 songs recorded by artists such as Blake Shelton, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Reba McIntyre, Kenny Chesney, Jon McLaughlin, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Aaron Neville and more! He has won multiple awards and written 7 number one songs. James is an artist, a producer and has also helped to develop and steer the careers of many other artists and songwriters and he is a fabulous guitarist.



Through a chance encounter in Nashville back in 2006, Benjamin and Kassie Wilson were sure of each other from the start. “Kassie knew she was going to marry me from the first time she saw me…and she was right,” Ben gloats. Formerly known as My One and Only, the duo has reimagined their “southern-soul,” “curious-grit” and emotionally honest lyrics into Goldpine. After nearly a decade of honing in on their sound, they’re ready to give the world their self-produced debut LP, Oneset for release Friday, August 26.

With this fresh start, Goldpine wastes no time showing what they stand for. Their lead single, “Wander Away,” is somewhat of a public service announcement about mental health. “We explored the ideas of separating yourself from worries and giving yourself a break,” Ben shares. “I think it’s so important that when we are in a place where we feel like we are in need, maybe that is the exact time to reach out to others who are also in need.” The track begins with a soft picking guitar, alongside Ben & Kassie’s unmistakable harmonies — sonically putting you at ease — leading up to a fuller sound that showcases Kassie’s powerhouse of a voice.

The sophomore single of One, When I Get to Heaven,” takes you on a musical roller coaster ride. Starting off leisurely the track quickly turns into a toe-tapping tune, back into the subtle, raw vocals of the duo, ending with a gospel flair. “Sometimes, when I’m looking for rest in the midst of life's hustle, I picture myself under this magnificent tree, just laying down in the grass,” Ben explains about the inspiration for the track. “It’s a heavenly place, where the atmosphere is at such peace and comfort…I’m reclining and in absolute rest there.”

Exposing the pains of severed relationships and unearthing the pursuits of love and purpose, Goldpine is cathartic, moody, dissonant, and relevant, all intertwined into one. Veterans of making music, Ben and Kassie put their hearts and souls into this album. One is a snapshot of this season of their lives — symbolizing a new beginning and an homage to the halcyon journey of My One and Only — leading them to where they are now. Laced with bold vocal harmonies and fervent lyrics, One, is the perfect introduction to Goldpine.

As their music evolved, the name didn’t necessarily grow along with it. “We were called My One and Only for about 5 years,” the two explain. “Throughout those years we realized that the name was putting out a certain vibe, of the depth of the music, that was not quite accurate with where our style was heading.” Drawing inspiration from their roots, the name Goldpine signifies their past and their future; Kassie grew up on Pines Road in Alabama, so ‘pine’ represents the past and ‘gold’ is the lasting and valuable element that represents the future.

Touring since 2016, they have been lessening the gap between music and the audience by disclosing their stories behind the lyrics at every venue along the way. From festivals like 30A Songwriting Festival and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, to listening rooms throughout the United States, Ben and Kassie have been offering their own brand of raw Americana to audiences large and small. Recent winners of the 2022 Rocky Mountain Songwriter Contest at the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival, and finalists in the Kerrville Folk Fest 2021 New Folk Competition, the duo's bold harmonies are clearly a channel for their highly charged songwriting. Presented the “Discovery Award” in 2018 by acclaimed music critic Robert K. Oermann (Music Row Magazine), Ben and Kassie declared performance as their love-share to the world, and since then, have maintained the love and commitment they put into their shows.

Staying true to their vision from the very beginning, Goldpine continues to stand out. With their debut album of “heart-wrenching songs about loss, raucous tunes about how music is perceived as an art, and short songs about being over-zealous” on the way, 2023 shows an auspicious future for the pair.

Goldpine - Artist Website
Back to