It’s been a while since I’ve discovered new music that takes me from day to night, filling the air with an upbeat melody, enhancing carefree times when all is well. For me, that time is when the kids are home, after homework and other obligations that make up the bulk of their time. And there is that sweet spot in the beginning of the week when the laundry is caught up, weekly meals are prepped, and a couple of runs have been logged.
Progress like that deserves a backbeat and a perfect CD is key. But a good collage of music also needs to be versatile enough to soothe your frantic moments and to make you reminisce for times gone by, maybe making you put thought into movement and save a friendship if it’s salvageable or ease the sting of letting go. Yes, good music can inspire you in a myriad of ways. A good album also needs to stand the test of time so that you don’t fondly just think back on past musical preferences, because they are still rocking your world, albeit in your minivan, being introduced to your kids. And I suppose if your musical tastes have evolved, they should reflect your bluesy side, take note of your rocker stage, pay homage to your favorite country crooners, and give a nod to your love of great folk songs. A new album by Kelly & Ellis has a quintessential sound and mass appeal to make it into your “forever” collection of musical favorites.
Casey Kelly and Leslie Ellis are the singers in the duet of Kelly & Ellis. You may not recognize their names at first, but mention some of the most celebrated country songs in American musical history and you’re likely to find they either wrote or sang on many popular standards you know and have even won an impressive Grammy. For Leslie Ellis, Broadway was always the goal and after several memorable performances in major productions like “La Cage Aux Folles” and “City of Angels,” she landed the lead role in “CATS” singing “Memory.” She eventually became a session vocalist for Sony Music singing background for the likes of Barbra Streisand, Faith Hill, Toni Braxton, and Celine Dion. A well-timed call in the late ‘90s led to her singing “My Heart Will Go On” with Celine Dion for the soundtrack of “The Titanic.” They went on to win a Grammy for Record of the Year.
Casey Kelly is a true career musician. His body of work is wide-reaching and well-respected in and out of the Nashville music scene. From writing signature hits for George Strait, like “The Cowboy Rides Away” and “Soon” for Tanya Tucker, to touring with Loggins & Messina, BB King, The Beach Boys and more, his songwriting and vocal skills are heralded. He almost missed a jam session at the famed Bluebird Café where Leslie Ellis was already on stage. He chose the seat next to her, the only one remaining and began warming up with some of his old songs. She knew the words to all of them. The rest is history.
Unpretentious and living as a happily married couple in Nashville has brought Kelly & Ellis to a period where they are eager to share their love story with the world. Their new release “The Long Road to You,” is the musical energy behind an itinerary of intimate gatherings with fans where they share their stories in humorous dialogue and delight the audiences with songs from their past and present. These shows are catching on like wildfire through social media. They will be appearing in Florida on November 17 at New Posh House Concert in Crawfordville; November 18 at White Eagles & Angels in Belleview; and November 19 at The Grotto at Crescent Lake House Concert, St. Petersburg. They hope you will stop in, get cozy and folksy for a while. They’ll soothe you with songs from your past that you’ve been singing along to for years and will inspire you with their new releases, each telling a vivid story like the good songs seem to, and you might even be treated to a Broadway hit or two. For more information on upcoming tour dates, please visit https://www.kellyandellis.com/home
Photos courtesy of Kelly & Ellis