Alison Perkins grew up in a household filled with music in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. The daughter of professional musicians, she attended her first concerts before she took her first steps. Her parents regularly brought her to gigs, sessions and music parties, and she often fell asleep inside of her dad's guitar case, lulled to slumber by live music. It wasn't long before she was singing traditional songs and learning the tin whistle from her father Jim. When she got older and expressed an interest in the fiddle, she took lessons from Mick Gavin, whose lovely Clare style can be heard echoed in Alison's playing. She also studied with Marty Somberg, another local fiddle legend, who spent time with button accordionist Joe Cooley in California in the 1970s.

 

When she was a teenager, she became deeply interested in the older generation of Irish musicians, counting luminaries such as Tommy Potts, Julia Clifford, Denis Murphy, Bobby Casey and Paddy Cronin as influences. During that time, she also became involved with the local Comhaltas branch. She regularly competed at the annual Midwest Fleadh Cheoil, and won the gold medal in the fiddle competition for six consecutive years before "retiring" at the age of eighteen to focus on supporting her own students. As the Midwest Fleadh is a qualifying event, she also had the honor of competing at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, or the "world championships" of traditional Irish dance music.  

 

As an adult, Alison has continued living near Detroit and performing and teaching full time. In 2007, she was invited to go on tour with internationally renowned Irish singer Seán Keane. She has traveled extensively across North America with her Irish folk family band, Finvarra’s Wren. In 2015, Alison and uilleann piper, flute and whistle player Colleen Shanks co-founded the beloved local Irish music concert series, The Strayaway Child. In 2016, she and uilleann piper Nicolas Brown released their debut duo album, All Covered With Moss. Irish Music Magazine called it “one of the best fiddle and uilleann pipes albums of the past ten years.” She is highly sought after as a music teacher, and has taught fiddle at the Detroit Irish Music Association, The St. Louis Tionól, the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, the Riley School of Irish Music, The Austin Celtic Festival, the West Coast Tionól and many more.