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Taylor Swift calls her band The Agency. They decided to call themselves “The Agency” because they thought they were looking like secret agents in the music video for Picture to Burn

CURRENT MEMBERS

PAUL SIDOTI | BAND LEADER, GUITAR

Paul Sidoti was born May 13. He is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. At the age of five he started playing guitar. Along the way, he taught himself keyboards, bass and drums. He also took lessons on saxophone through junior high and high school and started singing and playing in his own rock bands at the age of 14.

Shortly thereafter, he began writing and performing his own songs. With the help of his supportive parents, he received his own recording studio setup when he was 17. Writing, recording, producing and playing all instruments on his demos, he put together a 10 song album and moved to Los Angeles after completing his freshman year of college at Ohio State University and Western Michigan University where he majored in Jazz Studies. Upon arriving, he attended the Los Angeles Recording Workshop and earned an honors degree in recording engineering.

He moved to Nashville in the fall of 2000 and upon arriving, quickly met a few major songwriters in town. One being Stephanie Bentley (“Breathe” Faith Hill, “Concrete Angel” Martina McBride). They formed a friendship and began writing songs together. An instrumental person in Paul’s career has been singer/songwriter Dickey Lee who introduced him to the staff at Universal Music Publishing where he currently co-writes with various writers.

Before playing with Taylor, Paul has also shared the stage with Eric Carmen, The Raspberries, Bryan White and many others.  As we also know from Taylor’s blogs,  Paul is a huge fan of KISS and Taylor’s guitar teacher.

He’s married to the lovely Ashley White.

DAVID COOK | MUSICAL DIRECTOR, KEYS

David is an accomplished pianist, composer and now a member of The Agency. Before joining Taylor’s band he was based in New York City where he collaborated with talented musicians and recording artists such as Michael Blanco, Arun Luthra, Sean Nowell,  Nathan Peck and Sunny Jain.

He has also performed with Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, the Alan Ferber Nonet, Lizz Wright, Natasha Bedingfield, Jennifer Hudson, Utada Hikaru, Marianne Faithfull, Shayna Steele, Chester Gregory, Sarah Tolar and Rosey. David was selected to represent the United States in the “American Music Abroad” program with the band Exegesis, sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. State Department. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, David resided in Brooklyn just until recently. Now he’s getting a taste of Nashville.

His birthday is August 12. He is married to Shayna Steele.

He first performed with the Agency when Taylor performed on board “Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas” in Cozumel, Mexico on January 21, 2011. He worked as the musical director for the “Speak Now World Tour” as well as the “RED Tour” and “The 1989 World Tour”.  Additionally he’s The Agency’s masterful keyboard player.

AMOS HELLER | BASS

Amos Heller was born on March 18, 1977.  He began playing upright bass in the Charlottesville, Virginia, public school system at the age of ten.  He played classical upright over the next ten years, studying with Israeli virtuoso Mark Bernat, and winning a spot in the Miami University symphony orchestra.

He received his first electric bass when he was thirteen, and joined a band that knew a few songs.  Throughout high school, and college he played any genre of music that would have him, going from top 40 cover bands to Frank Zappa-inspired rock to Christian worship to small-combo jazz.

He would spend the next decade making an impression on the Cincinnati music scene, working with artists such as Ric Hordinski (Over the Rhine, Monk), Phil Keaggy, Ellery, Oval Opus and David Wilcox.  While gaining studio experience, he toured with blues legend Chris Beard, and with RCA rock act July for Kings, among others.

Amos moved to Nashville in the fall of 2005, and had already amassed an impressive resume.  In the years since making the move, he had toured or recorded with Josh Gracin, Rhett Akins, Mindy MacCready and Taylor Swift.  He has played stadiums, arenas and amphitheatres all over North America, and did a brief tour of U.S. bases in Iraq with the Stars for Stripes.  He has shared the stage with just about every big name in country music.

MICHAEL (MIKE) MEADOWS | GUITAR, BANJO, CELLO, SYNTHS…

Mike Meadows was born on April the 1st. He comes from Danville, Virginia. He has played music for as long as he can remember. He started playing guitar at the age of 8, and started singing shortly thereafter.

He used guitar as a gateway to other instruments and eventually earned a Bachelors Degree in Cello Performance from James Madison University. He went on to play bass and sing bvox for Pat McGee Band before he started his gig of playing guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and singing bvox for Lyric Street Recording artist Josh Gracin.

He’s a songwriter / performer / producer / cellist / guitarist / bassist / singer. He’s currently working on a way to play all those things at the same time, but he can’t seem to make it not look like he’s trying too hard.

He’s a member of The Agency since Taylor’s “Fearless Tour”. He is married to Brittany Milton.

MATT BILLINGSLEA | DRUMS

Matt Billingslea was born on January 4th in Westminster, MD. He got his music degree from Capital University in Columbus, OH. He worked day jobs and played music and soccer in Denver, CO for about 4 years.

Since moving to Nashville in the spring of ’05, he has performed and/or recorded with: Lady Antebellum, Thompson Square, David Nail, Josh Thompson, Mindy McCready, Jimmy Wayne, and Joey Martin, among others.

Most notably, apart from touring with Taylor, he spent 3 years with Lady Antebellum as their touring drummer/personal trainer right after their 1st single peaked at #3 until early 2011. He started playing the drums in January 2012 during a couple of promotion trips to Spain and France.

PAST MEMBERS

AL WILSON | ORIGINAL BAND LEADER, DRUMS

Al Wilson was born on April 11. He is the first and the original member of Taylor Swift’s band.

He was first selected not only as the drummer, but as the person to put together the band to tour with Taylor. During the first years, the members changed a lot depending on availability but Al remained. He is the original band leader and mentor of The Agency.

He played with Taylor from the start and through the “Fearless Tour” and “Speak Now World Tour”. He’s currently pursuing other projects but once in a while he gets together with other former band members.

GRANT MICKELSON | GUITAR

Grant was born in Sioux City, Iowa in April 30, 1984. He was very active in the local music scene. His passion for the guitar took him to Texas where he majored in Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas. In 2004, he moved to Nashville, where he studied music at Belmont University and began making contacts in the music industry.

In addition to Taylor, Grant has toured with other well-known country performers such as Sara Evans and Carolyn Dawn Johnson and has played lead guitar for Lady Antebellum as well as Damon Smith.

Grant was a guitarist in Taylor’s band, The Agency, from 2007-2015. He was the one with “the hair” and his love for President Abraham Lincoln was very well documented through multiple of Taylor’s vlogs.

He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and specializes in electric and acoustic guitar. He also sings and plays mandolin.

CAITLIN EVANSON | FIDDLE, GUITAR, VOCALS

Caitlin Evanson was born on February 26, 1979 in Seattle, Washington.  She inherited her natural musical interest from her father who was a music professor. At age four she got a violin and she began to be classically trained, eventually leading to studies under renown teachers such as Ivan Galamian (a colleague of Itzhak Perlman) and an assistant concert master position with the local youth symphony. However, Evanson’s musical influences soon took a dramatic switch.

“It unleashed a wrath unlike anything I had ever heard before,” recalls Evanson about the first time she heard Pearl Jam’s breaking single “Jeremy” on local rock station 99.9 KISW at age 13. She soon after purchased her first album: Pearl Jam’s debut Ten. Evanson’s new interest quickly advanced after her father purchased her an electric violin and amp for Christmas. By the 10th grade, Evanson was fronting her first band. “We only played in a garage and lasted for around four months,” laughs Evanson recalling old memories.

After attending punk concerts by bands such as Bad Religion, Seven Year Bitch, and L7 and being bruised by the mosh pits of Seattle’s thriving grunge scene, Evanson’s artistic direction was never the same. While attending college at Western Washington University in 1999, Evanson joined the all-female folk rock act Late Tuesday. Through performances at local coffee shops, cafes, and clubs the band created a devoted following, encouraging the release of a self-titled album in 2001. Gradually, Evanson’s stylistic focus evolved. Pursuing a solo career was inevitable.

Caitlin is a bonafide artist in her own right, and has been a huge contribution to the band, Taylor’s life and her headlining tours up until the “RED Tour”.  She’s currently pursuing her own projects. Catlin’s got a passion for birds, and she has an alter ego-named Eunice.

ELIZABETH (LIZ) HUETT | VOCALS

Elizabeth Huett was born on May 27 in Riverside, California. According to her official bio, Elizabeth was adopted at only three days old into a wonderful and loving family. Raised in Southern California, Liz’s spunky personality and effortless joy opened many doors for her as a child in the entertainment industry, though she always dreamed of being on the music stage.

She met Taylor as the last fan in line at a local festival back in the self-titled era. She wanted Taylor to hear her sing. They spoke and Taylor gave her some pointers. They also met again when Liz was working on a radio station. Then Liz was part of a reality show called “Dance Wars”. Taylor came on the show as a performer. They kept meeting every now and then.

Finally, Liz auditioned to be Taylor’s back up singer for what was to be the “Fearless Tour”. She got the job and the rest is history.

Liz’s background vocals are featured on Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” album. She can be heard on “Speak Now”, “Mean”, and “Superman” (deluxe track) as well as on “The Moment I Knew” (deluxe track from “RED”).

Liz left after The Agency after the “Speak Now World Tour” to pursue her own career. As of 2017, she is promoting singles that will be featured on her first album: “STFU & Hold Me” (gained over 1 million plays on Spotify) and “H8U”. Liz is signed to Interscope Records.

EMILY POE | FIDDLE

Emily Poe was the fiddle player on Taylor’s band a long time before it was called The Agency. If you see videos of Taylor at the CMA Fest in 2007, or the old Studio 330 sessions, or even Taylor’s first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, all those were with Emily.

Emily is a Belmont University Graduate. She traveled and performed with Taylor for two years before she made a career change and chose to go to the University of Tennessee Law School.

Back in February 2011, Emily spoke to the students of the Maryville Intermediate School Orchestra and shared her experience touring with Taylor.

It is widely believed that the song “Breathe” from the “Fearless” album was actually written for Emily. Whether that’s true or not, Taylor has never confirmed it. The song’s hidden message is “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry”.

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