Multi-instrumentalist, Instructor, Performer

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Ringing in 2023 - Several announcements and exciting news 

Merry Twixmas!  

Just learned a new term and that is Twixmas - the days between Christmas and New Years.  During these days, we take some time to relax, enjoy family time, or if you're me, quarantine with the flu away from family!

In between doses of Theraflu, that magical elixer, I've been gathering in all of my exciting news to share with all of you.  I've got several fun things to share with you all.  

First of all - The Selkie Girls will be back at NTIF this year March 3-5, Fair Park in Dallas, TX.  It was one of the first festivals we ever played and we are excited to be back again this year in our hometown. We may be adding some additional dates, so watch this space and also watch for additional dates this year.

Speaking of The Selkie Girls, we are heading to Ireland April 2024 and you're all invited. All the details are at


And next Summer, Jaycie Skidmore and I will be cruising the Carribbean, and guess what?  YOU are invited along to that as well!  Details for cruise here:


Important point on this one - make sure you if you sign up, you let them know Jaycie and I brought you there!  There's lots of Celtic acts coming on the tour, and we want to make sure they know we were part of the reason you signed up.  I can't wait for both of these awesome trips and the opportunity to hang with all of our friends and fans.  Y'all are the best.


New, New, New New New 

Happy New Year, y'all!  2022 is just a breath away, and I don't know about you, but I am MORE than ready for what this next year promises to bring.  I've got lots of news to announce and also some to tease.  

First the announcements:  

The Selkie Girls

Check out my SHOWS page to see as I add new dates.  The Selkie Girls are going back on tour this spring down south (yay!)  We've got several dates booked and are continuing to add more each week.  If you've missed The Selkie Girls, meet me in Texas and I promise you'll get a chance to see us - whether it's at North Texas Irish Festival (NTIF) or Sherman Celtic Festival, or if a more intimate, artistic show is your jam, we've got some of those including at Mesquite Arts Center.  Keep watching the Shows tab for updates.  I've missed my band like crazy, and we are determined to make this a very special spring.

Alli Johnson Music Studio

My studio continues to grow and thrive.  I have literally the best students and am so honored to be the teacher to each and every one of them.  I'm currently teaching Scottish and Irish songs, general voice, guitar, and ukulele.  Thanks to all who have supported my studio and chosen me as their instructor.  Keep me in mind if you're in the market for a music teacher, or know someone who is - I'm still accepting new students. Check out my LESSONS tab for more info.  

Songs for the TIMES

Along with my very good friend, Matthew Cook and for our beloved Traditional Irish Music Education Society, I will be hosting a series of workshops with some of the best Irish, Scottish, and Celtic Folk singers in the world.  Visit the TIMES site for more info on these quarterly workshops - all totally free and available to anyone with an internet connection.  It's not every day you get to chat and ask these folks questions about their music and process.  Full schedule announced soon.  

And finally, a bit of a tease.  

For the last two years, I've worked with Dave Ervin, lead guitarist for The Selkie Girls, on an ambitious musical project, originally under The Known World Project.  That initial group of songs became something more, and especially after we moved here to Wisconsin, it became clear that the next step in my personal musical career was to release my first solo album.  Solo is quite the relative term, as I've had the pleasure to work with some of my favorite folks on this, from Dave on guitar, Scooter Muse on banjo, fiddlers Chris Buckley and Kathryn Powell, Cara Wildman on bodhran, Martin McCall on drums, Chad Johnson on guitar, Jaycie Skidmore on vocals and flutes, and even Amanda Carlson on vocals up here in Wisconsin.  And now, another wonderful musician, Wolf Loescher, is working on some drum tracks for the final couple of songs.  At heart, I'm a collaborator, so being able to work with all of these talented individuals has been such a treat for me.  I really cannot wait to share this collection of songs with you all, and my goal is to have the final album released in late spring.  So I'll give you two little goodies till then.

First - the name of the album.  Into the Hollows.  

Second, a little lyric video I made of one of the tracks.  This one's Annabel Lee - based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem.  If you know me, I love haunting imagery, tragic love, and tragedy in general.  

As Tom Waits said, "I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things." 

Hope you enjoy the video and song.  


New Video! Hill of the Thieves - Irish Folk Cover! 

Cara Dillon is one of my favorite contemporary folk singers. I decided to cover her song, Hill of the Thieves, as part of my evolving solo project. 

This song was recorded over the past year with Dave Ervin, one of my favorite people to make music with. We asked our friend, Chris Buckley, great fiddle and viola player of The Here & Now to work with us on this. 

We threw him the task of creating an original reel in the instrumental sections of the song. And in an impossible key. And he was of course up to the task. 

I love this song because for me, it's all about reconnecting with your roots, honoring your history and the journey and sacrifice of those who came before, embracing both the dark and the light, and emerging stronger for it. I created this video as a love letter to both the song and to the gorgeous landscape of Ireland. 

Hope you enjoy!


New Shows Added 

St. Paddy's and Festival season looks a little different this year.  But as it can, the show does go on.  We recorded a very cool set at The Post in Fort Worth that will be streamed for North Texas Irish Festival.  Then we have some outdoor and socially-distanced shows coming up afteward.  Details below.  Looking forward to being back on stage and performing!


NORTH TEXAS IRISH FESTIVAL (NTIF), Dallas, Texas, March 5-7 

LEGACY HALL, Plano, Texas, March 13, 2021, 1:30pm - 3:30pm 

COPPELL ART CENTER, Coppell, Texas, March 13, 2021, 8:00pm - 9:30pm 

LEGACY HALL, Plano, Texas, March 17, 2021, 7:00pm - 9:00pm 

The Known World Project 

I've got a new musical endeavor called The Known World Project debuting this month.  When the St. Paddy's season was effectively wiped out, I wanted to do something.  If I couldn't perform, I could at least continue to make some music.  My bandmate Dave, from The Selkie Girls, and I starting kicking around some new songs.  Since the band couldn't rehearse, we just starting working on arrangements back and forth.  Then we began to invite some of our musical friends to join in the fun.  We recruited Chris Buckley, a long-time friend from Austin, and world-class fiddle player, to add his magic onto some tracks.  Jaycie from The Selkie Girls with her ethereal vocals and warm flutes, Scooter Muse, great banjo and guitar player from Alabama, Cara Wildman on the bodhran, Martin McCall on drums.  And the hope is that more friends will eventually join in.  There are no limits. 


LIKE the Facebook Page 
VIST the Website 

SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube Channel:  The Known World Project 

ENGAGE with us on Instagram @theknownworldproject

Here's the first song - Wolves.  

Thig Am Bata with Cara Wildman 

Please enjoy my collaboration with internationally known bodhran player, Cara Wildman.  This song proved to be a lyrical and rhythmic beast, but I'm proud of our final result.  

To quote from Cara's description:  


I first heard this tune in a bodhrán masterclass with 

Martin O'Neill 

in 2016 when I was studying in Limerick. He and Julie Fowlis got the tune from Mairi Smith, who is from the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides. The lyrics are ultra creepy (see below): a woman is happily married with small children. Her sister is envious of the woman's happiness, so murders the married sister and steals her husband and children. The husband later finds his dead wife drowned in the sea with her hair floating among the seaweed. The time signature is as scary as the lyrics, with four bars phrases in 13/8, 12/8, 11/8, and 12/8. The most challenging part for me wasn't the time signature as much as getting really clean tones with left hand, especially in bar three. 

A note from Martin: "When I was notating it originally to record it with Julie, I wrote it as one bar of 13/8 and 3 bars of 12/8, essentially forcing Julie to take a breath/pause on the 3rd line. Only five minutes before we recorded it we got Mairi Smith, from the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, on the phone to check we had it right. Julie passed the phone to me and I quickly realised I had an extra beat in there somewhere. A little moment of panic, but we figured it out and hit record a few minutes later and the result was the version you now know, 13/8, 12/8, 11/8, 12/8." 

The boat will come, early tomorrow. 

My father will be on board and my three brothers. 

My brown-haired husband at the breast-oar. 

They'll find me drowned. 

They will lift me up on the oars. 

My brown cloak swimming in the sea. 

My brown locks among the carageen. 

My silver broch among the sand. 

It wasn't hunger that sent me to the shore 

or a craving for dulse or limpets. 

Another farewell to my little ones, 

one a year old, one a two year old. 

The year old, who is not strong, 

I left him in the back room. 

Tonight he will ask for his mother's breast. 

If he does he will get only sea-water. 

Oh my curses on the jealous woman 

She left me on the rock of drowning 

The boat will come early tomorrow, 

They'll find me drowned. 

#tuneoftheweek #thigambata #carawildmanmusic #tradmusic #Scottishmusic #folkmusic #Scotland #music #folk #celticmusic #trad #livemusic #celtic #tunes #ScottishGaelic #bodhran #singer

A brand new project 

The Known World Project 

The Known World Project is a collaboration of musicians from all over the world. Organized by myself and Dave Ervin, the goal of the project is to create music even in this time of physical social isolation. "Alli and I started this project as a way to keep our sanity and have fun recording songs, all while living in the social distancing lock down of the 2020 pandemic." In the midst of uncertain times, music can be a stronghold, an anchor, both for the makers and the listeners.  We hope to continue this online project and share some music with the world. Stay tuned for future events, shows, recordings and the like. 

Sonder the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own 

We chose this concept to describe our current project. While we are living in era of self-isolation due to the pandemic, we have become more aware of one another's circumstances and challenges.  Even when we are apart, there is opportunity for connection.  Sonder speaks to the essential truth that we are complex and nuanced, and through artistic expression, compassion, and community, we can create something inspirational. 

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” - Desmond Tutu

Ringing In the New Year.  

New Year.  Same old me.  But armed with new goals, renewed passion, and focus.  I hope your 2019 was good; I hope you learned something new about yourself, did something you were proud of (or many things!), and that you are filled with some hope for next year.

Goings on, etc. 
The HouseCats are back and booking for 2020.  Never heard of us?  That's because we took an 11 year hiatus while raising our two kiddos.  They're getting older now, and the acoustic duo engine has revved up once again.



We're booking for wineries, pubs, and other great listening rooms.  We play a mix of atmospheric originals and tasteful covers, spanning from rock to pop to folk to Americana and beyond. We make a great opener, too.

I'm keeping busy with a full studio of students, through my own Skype lessons from my home, a full roster at the New Song School of the Arts, and my choirs and private students at the School of Irish Music, too.  I can never decide which I love teaching the most - ukulele, piano, voice, or guitar.  Or maybe it's just that I love them all and really enjoy the people I get to work with.  

The Selkie Girls are releasing our newest album this spring, tentatively in time for the St. Paddy's season of festivals and shows.  Go check out all the fun there at for more info on that.

Take care and see you all next year!  The best is yet to come! 

Back in the Studio, Summer Camps, Gigs, and all the rest 

Hi all :)

Thanks for checking out my page and traveling on this musical journey with me.  It's been an eventful six months since my last post.  We released the Christmas album, Winter Lore, produced two successful Christmas shows and a host of other dates, and then were slammed with the St. Paddy's season - traveling throughout Texas, singing our songs, and generally having a blast.

In the meantime, I've also been maintaining a very busy studio of piano, voice, guitar, and ukulele students.  I love all aspects of the work and am so thankful that I'm able to make my living with music.  I can't decide which I like better - making my own music or helping people on their musical journeys.  I'll just say I love them both and leave it at that.

The Selkie Girls are back in the studio working on our 5th album, as yet untitled, and it feels good to finally lay down the tracks that we've been working on in rehearsal.  My other musical project, The HouseCats is coming along as well, and we're in weekly rehearsals gearing up for some shows in the fall.  I'm excited to work with Chad again on this.

In the meantime, I'll be teaching a Ukulele Camp for kids, July 15th through 18th.  Check it out!

Want to learn ukulele, guitar, or voice?  I teach via Skype and have openings!  - Book a trial lesson today!

Here because of The Selkie Girls?  Check out all the Selkie details here!

The HouseCats - Indie, Acoustic, Folk, Rock - Booking Now

The HouseCats - Indie, Acoustic, Folk, Rock - Booking Now

Multi-instrumentalist. Instructor. Performer.