Brian von Ahsen is a singer/songwriter based in Eagan, Minnesota who arrived there in 2022 after spending over twenty years in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. While he’s not exactly new to the local music scene, Brian’s participation to date has been mostly one of supporting his friends rather than performing. While in Hawai‘i Brian spent much time on the beautiful North Shore, inspiring the song he is still most noted for – “Drama on Sunset Beach”. He was often seen in performance fronting his band Social Smokers at Kainoa’s Pancake House and Sports Bar in Haleiwa (“Where the North Shore Drinks”).
Despite his folk and rock major influences (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Waits and Loudon Wainwright III for starters) Brian’s introduction to music was as a classically trained singer, studying voice at The University of Iowa. At age 17 he sang baritone in the Universal Academy for Music’s Bicentennial National Choir in 1976 which toured Europe and performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Independence Hall, Royal Albert Hall and Notre Dame Cathedral. Everything changed when he picked up an acoustic guitar in 1980 and started learning Bob Dylan songs and his voice teacher told him he could not do both folk music and opera… so Brian chose folk.