Catch Dustin Olson's first performance in our taproom from 6-8pm! Most fans would be surprised to learn that Dustin has a Masters Degree in Business and Finance, and never planned to pursue music. “I did everything backwards.” Dustin grew up in what sounds like the perfect setting for a country song – a house on a gravel road in a small farming community of 1500 residents. When asked where he’s from, Dustin tells people, “Fly to Chicago, start driving west until you see corn, then go 15 to 20 minutes further and you’re there.”
He learned to play sax in middle school and dabbled in piano, but was mostly into “sports and chasing girls.” His parents encouraged him to go to college with the advice, “Get a degree so you have something to fall back on, then do whatever you want, as long as you have that piece of paper for Plan B.” After college, Dustin worked in the banking industry for several years but then came to the realization, “I’m not cut out for the 9 to 5 grind of an office job.” His next pursuit was working on cars. Dustin’s brother bought him a guitar for Christmas, and he spent several years honing his skills, occasionally playing in a band with his brother and sister-in-law. Then, something totally unexpected happened that set the stage for his future.
“It was a ‘right place at the right time’ kind of thing.” Dustin was working as a production manager for a local band that was playing at Country Thunder Wisconsin – one of the largest country music festivals in the US. One of the country artists who was scheduled to perform on a side stage dropped out at the last minute, and the stage manager whom Dustin had befriended told him, “You’ve got until Dierks Bentley is done to go get your guitar and come back to play.” Dustin had never played a show solo before, only as part of his family band. “Here I am scared to death. I went back to the camper, changed clothes, did a shot of Jack – or three, grabbed my guitar, and went on stage.”
From a side stage that looked down on a crowd of 30,000 country music fans, Dustin played an impromptu set of traditional and Texas country music along with a few of his original songs. When he saw the crowd of people dancing and singing and shooting videos of him, he says, “It was the biggest rush ever, and that’s when I was hooked. That moment is what did it for me.”