Summer 2022

JUN 8 | Ben Rector

JUN 8 | 8 PM

Nashville-based singer/songwriter Ben Rector makes his Wolf Trap debut in support of his latest album, The Joy of Music (2022). Rector’s songs—including hits “Brand New” and “Love Like This”—strike a chord with audiences through heartfelt lyrics that are the perfect soundtrack to life’s most transformative moments. Joining Rector are singer/songwriters JP Saxe and Jordy Searcy with Stephen Day.


Fifteen years after starting his career writing songs and touring in his Honda Accord on the weekends, Ben Rector found himself at home and at the piano in March 2020. The alchemy of life’s big questions, more downtime than he’d had in a decade, and those now all-too-familiar “unprecedented times” resulted in his career album: The Joy of Music (2022). The project includes a breathtaking short film (featuring seven songs brought to life with stunning cinematography), inviting listeners and viewers to visit a dream world that communicates Rector’s creative process and his reckoning with his job as an artist. He is led through the film’s chapters by his new friend Joy, a muppet monster he created with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. In this fantastic and dream-like landscape, we see and hear Rector overcome a deep-seated fear of failure, dancing and singing his way through the journey of rediscovering the joy of music. 

Rector has amassed over a billion streams across all platforms, has performed on numerous late night and morning TV shows including Conan, The Today Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Kimmel, Live With Kelly and Ryan, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and as a celebrity mentor on American Idol alongside Ryan Tedder, Jewel, Brian McKnight, Jason Aldean, and more. His records have topped numerous Billboard charts, with his last two records landing at No. 1 on Billboard’s US Folk and No. 2 on Billboard’s US Rock and US Indie charts. Rector has built a dedicated touring base, regularly selling out theaters and amphitheaters across the country, including three consecutive nights at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and over 100,000 tickets sold on his last headline tour, Magic: The Tour.

Photo of JP Saxe in red shirt

JP Saxe received his first Grammy nomination for his platinum single “If The World Was Ending” featuring Julia Michaels at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. The duet, produced by six-time Grammy Award-winner FINNEAS, was one of the most impactful songs during the pandemic, resulting in over one billion streams across platforms and over 130 million music video views. It has been certified platinum in the US, among other territories, and 4x platinum in Saxe’s native Canada. Saxe and Michaels performed the track on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Late Show With James Corden, and the 2020 MTV VMAS. In October 2020, Saxe released “A Little Bit Yours” which he debuted live on Live with Kelly and Ryan, and later on Jimmy Kimmel Live! praised Saxe as “one of 2020’s breakout stars.” In February 2020, Saxe released his debut EP Hold It Together, which was critically praised by TIME Magazine for “exploring the weird—sometimes lovely, sometimes painful—emotions that bubble up in relationships.” TIME also included “3 Minutes” off the EP in their “5 Best Songs of the Week” roundup. Saxe kicked off 2021 with the release of “Line By Line,” featuring Grammy-winning artist Maren Morris. They made their late-night TV debut of the track on The Late Late Show With James Corden in early March.


Jordy Searcy is a Louisiana born, Nashville sharpened singer/songwriter known across the country for jaw-dropping lyrics, stunning vocals, and intricate guitar work—all packaged in intimate authenticity, approachable hooks, and production. With over 700 shows under his belt, over 1,000 songs written including cuts and co-writes with arena-sized artists, an appearance on The Voice, and over 51 million streams on his own music, Searcy has made quite the mark for an artist with only two album releases.

In February 2020, one month before the world shut down, Searcy released Love? Songs—his debut full-length album packed with the lyrical and emotional depth of Randy Newman and the pop mastery and ingenuity of Olivia Rodrigo. Shows in major markets were selling out and a promising album cycle was about to bloom.

Then the entertainment and touring industry came to a halt. Searcy responded in the only way he knew how, by converting his touring van into his home and driving down the California coast from Oregon to San Diego to surf and write a new album.

Three hundred and eighty-seven songs later, the resulting record Daylight is his most exciting, mature, and adventurous work to date-with influences like Paul Simon, Pinegrove, Taylor Swift’s Folklore album, and Phoebe Bridgers. The album maintains a theme of gleaning goodness from hard situations. Searcy said of the record, “This is the hardest I’ve ever worked on an album. I think this really is the record I’ve been trying to make since l first started writing songs, and I believe in these songs so much.”

With the Tik Tok-viral lead single “Molly” earning over 100k streams and major Spotify playlist support in its first week, the upcoming album promises excitement with each new song. It’s not all internet hype though; Searcy played more than 40 shows on his fall 2021 tour, complete with pin-drop VIP experience acoustic sets and high-energy light shows.

Daylight will be out one song at a time, releasing in full in 2022, accompanied by incredible live shows in most major markets. For Searcy, things only look brighter from here.


The pandemic hasn’t left anyone’s life unchanged. In February 2020, Stephen Day was gearing up to tour his 2019 album Guess I’m Grown Now. He and his band were prepping for his first show in Asia and to return to the states for their first headline tour a week later. As news on COVID-19 started to spread and the world began to shut down, Day’s view of the imminent future, like everyone else’s, was no longer certain. On March 7, flights to the Philippines were canceled, then SXSW along with his official showcase slot, and he and his team had to make the decision to cancel his tour. Like that, Day, along with the rest of the world, was in a new digitally-driven community. 

Over a year later as the world started to re-open, the 25-year-old Nashville resident took the time to reflect on his place in culture, business, and art. “It felt like the world around me and the world inside me was begging for me to dig deeper, in a way asking me to accept the calling of being an artist, and I did my best to answer back.” Since the shutdown, Day released his first self-produced project Original Songs and Sound, collaborated with Allen Stone, and passed 43 million streams on his catalog. American Songwriter called his track “Every Way (Supernatural),” “a huge musical leap forward,” and went on to add that it “signals rebirth and renewed creative force.” The five-song EP made alone in the confines of his bedroom lend to the crooner vocal performance his fans have come to love, and moves his sound into a contemporary space.

In 2021, Day wrote, recorded, and finished his second full-length album The Shapes I’m In. The project was co-produced by Micah Tawlks (COIN, Hayley Williams, Liza Anne) and Day. Eager to get it out to fans Day says, “I put so much of myself into this record in hopes that we could all grow a little closer together after the year and a half we’ve had of being separated. It feels like the easiest way to re-enter and rebuild a more social and communal world is by remembering how to give away a little bit of yourself to someone and trust them with it.” The project represents a new era for Day that isn’t afraid to push boundaries sonically or in subject matter. He’s come a long way since his 2016 debut and looking forward to the future ahead.




Dan and Gayle D’Aniello,
Wolf Trap 2022 Season Underwriters