Native Shelby County band to perform at Country Concert


By Charlotte Caldwell

[email protected]

SIDNEY — A band native to Shelby County will perform at Country Concert this year along with other native Ohio performers.

The Small Town Brothers (TSTB) was established in November of 2018. Ryan Newton, a mental health/addiction nurse, sings and plays acoustic guitar; Andrew Overholser, a clinician in family medicine and professor of pharmacology at the University of Toledo College of Medicine, plays lead guitar and sings backup vocals; Eric Shoemaker, the director of independent living at Ohio Living Dorothy Love and a realtor with Gay Smith/Associates, plays bass guitar and sings backup vocals; and Andy Dershem, an engineer at Collins Aerospace in Troy, plays the drums. Overholser, Newton and Shoemaker have known each other since going to Houston High School together and Dershem is married to Overholser’s sister.

“We started as a band in high school (minus Andy) and were originally a heavy metal band that played WAY TOO LOUD. We stopped after graduation and went our separate ways — college, work, and Ryan joined the Navy,” Shoemaker said. “In fall of 2018 at the Minster Oktoberfest, while listening to the bands we decided that it was time to dust off our guitars and get back at it. That is when TSTB was formed.”

“I started playing drums around age 5 or 6, and I was in numerous bands throughout high school and beyond. I joined the band in the spring of 2023,” Dershem said. “I’m also eight years older than everyone else in the band, so I knew them all from Andrew, and was always excited to see them perform and gain success. Was also very excited to be asked to join when they were in search of a drummer.”

The group has played shows all over western Ohio, including bars like Sharp’s Bar, E&R’s, Duckfoot’s, Cruizer’s and the Boardwalk; festivals like Anna Homecoming, Russia Homecoming, St. Boniface Oktoberfest in Piqua and Sidney Arts & Music festival; the Sidney Theatre; and numerous backyard and campground venues. Outside Ohio, they have performed twice at Tootsie’s World-Famous Orchard Lounge in Nashville, Tennessee, and were invited to enroll in Honky Tonk School to learn the ins and outs of being a full-time Nashville-based band; an offer they declined due to their families and careers.

They perform original songs and covers. They have an original album called “Country Boots, Metal Roots” with 11 songs on all major streaming platforms and are currently working on a single called “Dirt Poor.” They perform covers of songs from Garth Brooks, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ozzy Osbourne and more. At Country Concert, they will perform mostly original songs and a few covers.

Shoemaker said his favorite original song is “Carry On” and his favorite cover is “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Newton’s favorite original song is “Dirt Poor.” Overholser’s favorite original is “Ice Cold Whiskey” and his favorite cover is also “Simple Man.” Dershem’s favorite original is “Dirt Poor” and his favorite cover is “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters.

“Our song ideas come from our experiences in life, our challenges, our heartbreak, our dreams and some of it comes from just wanting to be funny. We try to never take ourselves too seriously,” Newton said.

“I love writing melodies and the musical structure. I take a lot of inspiration from 2000s country and rock from the 80s,” Overholser said. “We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and the groups from those eras really paved a way for musicians like us.”

“My favorite part of being in a band, aside from the friendships, is seeing the crowd go crazy when you play a song they like and hearing them sing along. It’s a great feeling, even when it’s a cover,” Dershem said.

“The best part of being in this band is the friendship between the four of us. Our band name is The Small Town Brothers and that is what this is, a brotherhood,” Shoemaker said. “This is the coolest hobby one could ever have. Every kid should pick up an instrument and find some friends to jam with.”

On July 10, 2023, Shoemaker posted “The Small Town Brothers for Country Concert 2024!!!!” on Facebook and ended up predicting the future.

“When Paul Barhorst messaged us about the Country Concert opportunity I just thought to myself that this is literally a dream come true,” Shoemaker said. “I have been attending Country Concert for well over 10 years and have always imagined being a part of the festival. Now to see our name on the lineup with artists like Lainey Wilson, Big & Rich, Dustin Lynch, Hardy, Cody Johnson, etc. It is surreal. We are so grateful for this opportunity and we thank the Barhorst family from the bottom of our hearts.”

To keep up with the band, follow them on Facebook at

No posts to display