Skyflight Productions

Presenting National Talent of All Genres in Small Town America!

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Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Paleface on Friday June 23, 2017 at The Albert S. George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville, OH. Prolific, influential, cult-hero & indie -folk icon, PALEFACE, is now a high-energy & charismatic duo featuring his girlfriend Monica "Mo" Samalot, on drum-kit & charming candied vocal harmonies. The band celebrated the release of their latest album, One Big Party (Ramseur Records), with a special guest performance alongside The Avett Brothers at Radio City Music Hall, followed by US & Europe tours...including special performances on NPR's Mountain Stage & Daytrotter (voted top 20 of the year). PALEFACE, was schooled musically by friend Daniel Johnston (The Devil And Daniel Johnston) and soon discovered at an NYC open mic by Danny Fields (The Stooges, The Ramones, MC5). He's released over a dozen records including two major label releases, and has been called a major influence & inspiration by a wide range of artists including Grammy Award recipient BECK, and The Avett Brothers. He's also collaborated and appeared on three albums by The Avett Brothers. Additionally, Paleface is a visual artist who's been selling hundreds of his original music inspired paintings at concerts, art shows, festivals and via his website.
Doors 7:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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  Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Carsie Blanton on Friday July 7, 2017 at The Albert S George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville, OH. Carsie Blanton is a singer/songwriter based in New Orleans. Her newest record, So Ferocious, is “a playful indie-pop record for smart, ferocious libertines”. Her albums range from folk and pop (Buoy, 2009) through Americana and rock (Idiot Heart, 2012; Rude Remarks, 2013), to classic jazz (Not Old, Not New, 2014).
When asked about the genre of So Ferocious, Carsie told DIME Magazine, “making music is like making love; if you only know one way to do it, you’re not very good at it.”
So Ferocious was released on August 2nd, along with three music videos, all of which explore the album’s themes of pleasure, ferocity, and female empowerment. Carsie will be touring to promote the record throughout the fall in the US and Europe.
Carsie has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe since 2006, as a headliner and as support for Paul Simon, The Wood Brothers, The Weepies, Shawn Colvin and many more.
Her live performances, which include material from every album, have been praised for their wit, humor, and captivating charm. In addition to her four full-length albums and two EPs, Carsie has gained popularity for her blog (which tackles questions of love and sexuality) and music videos (including “So Ferocious” and “Baby Can Dance”).

“Carsie Blanton has hit one out of the park.” –Washington Post

“Her sly wit and urbane imagery reminds me of a female Cole Porter.” -John Oates (of Hall & Oates)

Doors 7:30PM
$10
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2913809

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Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Danika Holmes and Jeb Hart on Tuesday July 18, 2017 at The Grange Hall in Barnesville, OH. She's a songwriter who was almost a doctor. He's a guitar aficionado who owns and operates his own guitar instruction company. Together they form the duo Danika Holmes featuring Jeb Hart, a soulful combination of acoustic pop and blues that hits the heart with their blended talents.
Hailed as "a captivating singer in a truly soulful duo," by Emmy Award winning songwriter Trey Bruce, Holmes initially started as a solo artist, her songs playing on Sirius XM's Coffee House station and on 150 radio stations nationwide. Her belief is that a well written song can embody all emotions of the human existence and she articulates that beautifully with her slightly raspy yet gentle voice and truthful lyrics.
Jeb Hart can tell a story with six strings - "I’ve seen some of the best guitarists that rock, blues and country have to offer." says Entertainment reporter Jim Renke. " Jeb Hart can hold his own with any of them. His heart and passion are matched only by his technical skills.” The multi-faceted Hart began playing music at the age of 9 - shortly thereafter he began a 16 year career of guitar instruction, opening his own company Six Month Guitar. Performing with various bands, ranging in genres from blues to rock, country to big band, Jeb found the partner he was looking for in Danika.
Danika and Jeb are taking stages by storm - having opened for mainstream heavyweights such as Lyle Lovett, Dierks Bentley, Phil Vassar and others, their soulful and intoxicating sound lures in new fans daily.
Doors 7:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Sarah Shook & The Disarmers on Friday July 21, 2017 at The Albert S. George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville, OH. Sarah Shook & The Disarmers are a country band with a sneer, a bite, and no apologies. Shook's original songs take on the usual country spin on shitty relationships, bad decisions, and excessive alcohol consumption for damn good reasons. When Shook's first band, Sarah Shook & the Devil, broke up after a solid three year plus run, Shook and her guitarist, Eric Peterson, continued to meet, practice, and plan. In late 2013 they put together brief stint called The Dirty Hands which ended after a handful of shows. The project they were looking for soon arrived with the addition of former Two Dollar Pistols frontman, John Howie Jr., (now frontman for John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff) as drummer. Sarah Shook & the Disarmers was born.
Shook and chief engineer of Manifold Recording Studios, Ian Schreier, had worked together some years before when he supervised intern Mario Bianchi recording the Devil's seven song EP simply titled, Seven. Shook and Schreier had been discussing
creating a full length album together for an age and, finally, during the first weekend of April, 2015, it happened. After nearly a decade of playing solo or fronting a band, Shook released her first full-length album, Sidelong, on October 16, 2015, at the Cat's Cradle Back Room in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Doors 7:30PM
$12
brownpapertickets.com

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Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Matt Bednarsky on Sunday July 30, 2017 at The Grange Hall in Barnesville, OH. People try to box others in. Genres and artist comparisons are how the public tries to make sense of a musician. You can’t really do that with Matt Bednarsky.

Born to a mother with a classical pedigree and a professional jazz guitarist father, Matt grew up in Shelton, CT engulfed in music. He began violin at the age of 4 (soon after left behind), guitar at age 8, and started singing probably not long after he could make farm animal noises. He first put pen to paper in songwriting at the age of 12, finding it as a way to creatively engage.

Matt attended New York University and studied Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, psychology and music. After studying abroad in Italy, graduating from NYU, and living at an orphanage in Trujillo, Peru for eight months, he eventually found himself back in NYC and immersed in Greenwich Village’s singer/songwriter community. However, it wasn’t long until he made the move to Nashville for 2013 to dive into Music City’s vibrant scene.

Since the move, Matt’s been busy. He has released two full-length studio albums, “A Bigger Picture” (in part executive produced by Ed Cash) in 2014, and “Two” (co-produced with Gus Berry) in 2015, as well the acoustic demo album Fragments and Glimpses and the Christmas EP Acoustic Tidings. He’s also built upon his expansive internet presence; currently he has over 2.5 million cumulative views on YouTube.

These days, Matt is on the road, touring throughout the country and, soon, the world. He opened for legendary British artist Joan Armatrading on multiple engagements during her final major tour as well as soulful American Idol Season 9 Runner-Up Crystal Bowersox. He was recently named a 2015 Artist of the Year by Concerts In Your Home, and toured Europe, Canada, and Australia in 2016.

Okay, fine, if you really need it!:

His unique style draws influence from a variety of genres including pop/rock, folk, jazz, and blues.

Think somewhere in between James Taylor and John Mayer with Michael Bublé and Ryan Adams mixed in.

But, you’re better off just throwing those last two sentences out the window and hearing him for yourself.

Doors 6:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Jon Stickley Trio on Thursday August 17, 2017 at The Albert S. George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville, OH. On the tail of their critically acclaimed 2015 album, Lost at Last, Jon Stickley Trio independently released a brand new 5-song EP, Triangular, on December 2, 2016. With roots in gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and hip-hop in an “exhilarating all-acoustic swirl” (Acoustic Guitar Magazine), Jon Stickley Trio combines Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage on drums.
“In a time when a lot of instrumental music feels more like math than art, Jon Stickley Trio's Triangular reminds us of the pure joy that can be created and shared through music,” says Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck.
The New York Times’ Nate Chinen writes “… there’s hardy cohesion among the players — no less on the Gypsy standard ‘Valse de Wasso’ than on ‘Darth Radar’ a turbocharged original with a ska upbeat and a shredding melody. And when Mr. Stickley and friends turn to bluegrass, as on ‘The High Road,’ by Tim O’Brien, they sound both respectful and free.” Premier Guitar Magazine also took note of “Darth Radar,” with Jason Shadrick calling it, “a rapid-fire take that moves from a serious ska beat to burning surf-style runs that would make Dick Dale proud.”
With the success of Lost At Last making it into rotation on radio stations both nationally and internationally, the Trio has traveled over 50,000 miles, performing at over 100 festivals and venues across the country in 2016 (Including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC), attracted attention of thousands of new fans, and teamed up with a national booking agency. Jon Stickley Trio heads into the studio in early December to record the yet unnamed full length album with Dave King, who also produced Lost At Last which garnered praise from The New York Times, NPR's Heavy Rotation, NPR's World Cafe, Premier Guitar Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and many others.
Doors 7:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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Skyflight Productions presents Laney Jones and The Spirits on Wednesday August 30, 2017 at The Albert S George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville, OH. There's a sort of magic when you meet someone who's doing what they're clearly meant to be doing. You can feel an electricity in the air and energy that can't quite be explained but you know it when you see it. This is undeniable when you meet Laney Jones. In a few short years, since picking up the banjo, this young songwriter and bandleader went from playing rural Florida watering holes to performing on PBS alongside Alison Krauss and licensing music for the likes of Disney Pixar.
Now for her self-titled release, she's matured her sound and become more akin to rock-n-roll than the roots music for which she's been primarily known. This album has a lot to do with self discovery, Laney confides. The veil is down. My sonic palette has expanded, and I felt like the studio was a perfect playground for experimenting. We followed where our ears led. The explorations were under the guidance of Grammy-nominated producer David Plakon (Wild Child, Young Rapids and Roadkill Ghost Choir). Playfully, Laney dubbed the albums genre as retro majestic, a mélange of timeless tunes that harken back to 1960's and 70's singer-songwriters with innovative modern textures and grooves. At its core, Laney Jones is a folk-rock record brimming with sonic surprises like shards of filthy guitar, shimmering Fender Rhodes, hip-hop breakbeats, and even untutored clarinet playing.
The albums bold creativity is contextualized by a well-crafted 10-song collection. Do What You Want" opens the album with Laney's lone tenor guitar and intimate crooning: "What's the point of living if you cant have fun? What's the point of heaven if you don't know anyone?" The writing is the quintessence of Laney Jones. It contains a philosophical sophistication plainly written, waiting to be picked by the listener like ripe fruit on the vine.
Other standouts are the invigoratingly hooky Allston (Dance Around), the haunting folk of Who Could Love, and the albums moony conclusion, Endless Summer. Born in the early hours after a dance party in Allston, MA, the lead single was co-written by guitarist and main collaborator, Matthew Tonner, as an anthem to shake away the drudgery of mundane labor. Who Could Love is a pivotal track for Laney that represents something of an artistic epiphany. Wrapped in cryptic imagery, the lyrics express the anguish of her personal challenge of forging an identity as an artist, and at the same time connects this to the fear of rejection that universally affects us all. The final cut, Endless Summer, is sardonically juxtaposed with bold flourishes of slide ukulele and longing lyrics. People wait for life to start," Laney says. "As a kid, you eagerly await summer vacation, for school to be finally over, but then what? Can it ever be as good as you'd imagined?
Amazingly, Laney Jones music career started as something of an accident. She picked up the guitar and began writing songs during college as a respite from the demanding academic curriculum working on an international business degree. Her aptitude as a singer and songwriter was instant. She soon found herself immersed in the roots scene as a rising young talent. It was all a whirlwind for Laney uncovering her innate multi-instrumental gifts and being thrust into a distinct niche of music. Laney would unpack her creative ambitions while studying abroad in China without any instruments and far away from the hubbub. Away from everything, she realized her desire to do music and vowed to pursue it. When she came back to the states, she auditioned for Berklee College Of Music and was awarded a songwriting scholarship. Laney matriculated at the esteemed institution for a year and a half where she had the opportunity to study with singer-songwriter, record producer, and A&R executive Kara DioGuardi. Learning the craft of pop songwriting from a master enabled Laney to authentically discover and cultivate her own talents for emotionally resonant and infectiously catchy songwriting.
Laney has received accolades from No Depression and L.A. Record, as well as the legendary Alison Krauss. As an unsigned artist, shes managed to grace the stage at New York's Lincoln Center and DC's Kennedy Center for the Arts, feature on PBS's Great Performances series, earn corporate sponsorships and licensing deals, and receive nationwide college radio spins for her original songs. Currently, her music is spinning in steady rotation on over 50 CMJ indie radio stations across the country, and her voice can be heard on soundtracks of films and TV from the likes of Disney and Dreamworks. Laney's also won many prestigious songwriting and new artist competitions, most notably the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
Doors 7:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Rachel Baiman Band on Friday September 1, 2017 at The Grange Hall in Barnesville, OH. In many ways, Shame, the new album from 27-year-old Nashville Americana songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Baiman, is an exploration of growing up female in America. “I wasn't necessarily trying to write songs that would be easy to listen to," Baiman says of the project, “I wanted to write about reality, in all of it's terror and beauty.” From the title track about abortion politics, to love, sex, and abuse in relationships, to classism and inequality in her re-write of Andy Irvine's working class anthem “Never Tire of the Road,” the album is ambitious in its scope, yet remains cohesive through Baiman's personal perspective. Despite the serious subject matter, the overall feeling of the album remains light, with the tongue-in-cheek “Getting Ready to Start (Getting Ready)” and feel-good anthem “Let them Go To Heaven." A departure from her stripped-down work with progressive folk duo 10 String Symphony, Shame is lush and varied in instrumentation and musical texture.
Inspired in equal parts by John Hartford and Courtney Barnett, Baiman's influences span a wide range, but years spent playing traditional music shine through in the album’s firmly rooted sound. For recording and production, Baiman turned to the talents of Mandolin Orange's Andrew Marlin. “At the time that I was writing the music for this record, I was listening to all North Carolina-made albums, including Mandolin Orange and the album Andrew produced for Josh Oliver (Oliver is also featured heavily on Shame)." Shortly after reaching out to Marlin, Baiman traveled to Chapel Hill, NC for three intensive days in the studio. "The energy was amazing," Baiman says. "It became clear that we were making something really special that needed to be finished.”
Added to the musical intensity was the context of the material they were recording—namely, how the songwriting on Shame sits within the current American political climate. "I think what is happening in the country right now has really shifted my career priorities, and brought the folk music community together. We are all suddenly seeing our purpose come into focus, and feeling a renewed responsibility to be a voice of unity and resistance.” In addition to the release of her new solo album, Baiman is the co-founder of a new political group called Folk Fights Back, a musician-led national organization that puts together benefit concerts and awareness events in response to the Trump administration.
Baiman is no newcomer to activism. Raised in Chicago by a radical economist and a social worker, she was surrounded by social justice issues her entire life. “If I wanted to rebel against my parents I could have become a finance banker or a corporate lawyer” she says of her childhood. While her classmates went to church or temple on Sunday mornings, Baiman attended the Ethical Humanist Society of Greater Chicago, a non-religious community formed around discussions of morality and current events. “That was always a tough one to explain at school” she says with a laugh.
As a teenager, Baiman found music to be a welcome escape from worrying about global politics. “I often found the constant discussion of seemingly unsolvable problems to be intense and overwhelming, and when I moved to Nashville to pursue music it felt like something positive, beautiful and productive that I could put into the world. Now that I've had some years to devote to music,”—Baiman has been recording and touring internationally for the past 4 years with 10 String Symphony, and has played fiddle for numerous other artists including Kacey Musgraves and Winnipeg folk band Oh My Darling—“I find it hard to escape from the values that I grew up with, and I feel compelled to write politically, to speak out about things that I've experienced or seen. Songwriting is a unique opportunity to do that, because it avails a more emotional vehicle for discussion. I love the political tradition of folk music, from Woody Guthrie to Tupac, and my hope is that this record adds another voice to it.”
Doors 7:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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Skyflight Productions presents an evening with The Appleseed Collective on Thursday September 7, 2017 at The Albert S George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville, OH. The Appleseed Collective is poised to become the new sound of string music. Riding the wave of the bluegrass revival beyond newgrass and into a strange new genre-bending territory, they explore the full range of dark and light, old and new, composition and improvisation in a deeply theatrical stage show that transports audiences through time.
Formed in 2010, The Appleseed Collective has become a force of nature powered by their local community and developed by a strong sense of do-it-yourself drive. In an age of corporations and climate change, the band’s commitment to buying & selling local, eating from gardens, and being their own bosses has led to the kind of success that feels simply organic.
Each part of the Collective comes together to form an amalgam of complementary and contrasting elements. With a Motown session musician for a father, guitarist Andrew Brown was exposed to pre-World War II jazz on a trip to New Orleans. Shortly afterwards a chance meeting introduced him to Brandon Smith, violinist, mandolinist and improvisatory magician who grew up playing old time fiddle music. Vince Russo, multi-percussionist and van-packing savant, blends influences of funk, jazz and rock n’ roll on the washboard. Eric Dawe comes from a background of choral singing and studies in Indian classical music and provides the bottom end on the upright bass. The whole band sings in harmony.
The band's latest release is a live album recorded in one night at world-renowned venue, The Ark in their hometown of Ann Arbor MI. On Live At The Ark (December 2014) the energy is palpable, the crowd ready to receive, and the band primed to deliver. With a mix of new and old material, as well as a few specially requested covers, Appleseed does just that. The album balances barn burners, old soul jazz, and sparse mood pieces, all suspended above a room hungry for more. It's a daring spectacle but it pays off- the album feels at once electric and intimate, glamorous and genuine, or as Joshua Pickard at Beats Per Minute put it, "music best served alongside a roaring campfire but that also has the ability to challenge the rafters of any grand arena."
The Appleseed Collective is not a bluegrass band. It’s not The Hot Club of Paris. It’s not a ragtime cover band. The Appleseed Collective represents Americana music rooted in traditions from all over the world and from every decade, creating a live experience that welcomes every soul and is impossible to replicate.
Doors 7:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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The Novel Ideas are a country folk quintet of friends from the great state of Massachusetts. Featuring the voices of three different songwriters, The Novel Ideas create a blend of pastoral, harmony driven, and plaintive Americana. In 2014 they released a 10" single "Lost on the Road", featuring two new songs and marking the band's first effort as a five piece. The following couple years have been spent touring nationally, writing, and recording as a band. Their latest release, St. Paul Sessions, was recorded live in an old church in their hometown. It features six unreleased songs, and aims to capture the raw, live energy of their live performance.

Doors 7:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Chad Elliott on Sunday September 24, 2017 at The Albert S George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville, OH. Like the dark earth of his Iowa origins, Chad Elliott's life has served as fertile ground for music. Elliott has turned love, loss, fatherhood, divorce and homelessness into lyrics. He performs more than 200 shows each year. He has cultivated more than 1,000 songs in his career while also honing his skills as painter, sculptor and children's book author/illustrator (Wilderman’s Treetop Tales).
Elliott’s early career demonstrates a love of folk, roots and singer-songwriter music. He has worked with many greats and shared the stage with artists of the highest caliber, including Odetta, Tom Paxton, Loudon Wainwright III, R.L. Burnside, Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, etc. Today, his songwriting has made a marked shift to Americana.
On his 20th album, “Wreck and Ruin”, Elliott dives into his love of roots-rock, soul and blues music with a rocking band behind his artfully crafted songs. Producer and drummer, Ken Coomer (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo) lined up the best rhythm and lead players in Nashville to create Elliott’s greatest album to date. Guitarist and bassist Kenny Vaughan and Dave Roe, legendary Nashville players, add the needed touches to rocket Elliott’s songs into a new arena of hard driving Americana.
The title track of “Wreck and Ruin” was conceived after the Moore, Oklahoma tornado of 2013. Elliott didn’t think too much of the song at the time he wrote it and put it aside. Its lyrics spell out a hopeless situation of a family expecting twins (Elliott being a twin himself). As the mother goes into labor the family finds itself in the back of a broken-down Chevy as a tornado bears down on the land. Nothing is left standing, except the family, now with two babies named “Wreck” and “Ruin.”
One year after writing the song, on Mother’s Day, 2014, Elliott and his family were celebrating at his mother’s home in Iowa. His hard-working, single mother raised four children alone. No one minded when festivities closed early so his mother could attend a Lyle Lovett concert. Two hours after Elliott and his wife and children left, a tornado leveled his mother’s house. Thankfully, no one was home. It could have been worse - the whole family would likely have been home, kids and all, if not for that Lyle Lovett concert. Elliott dusted off the “Wreck and Ruin” song to feature on this album, adopting the motto “Lyle Lovett Saves Lives.”
Chad Elliott has learned not to ignore the machinations of fate, but to pay homage to them. He writes them into songs and carries their lessons with him on tour across the country.
Doors 6:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Kelly & Ellis on Thursday October 19, 2017 at The Albert S George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville, OH. The Long Road to You, the debut record by new acoustic duo Kelly&Ellis is filled with the sort of masterful playing and spot-on harmony that’s rare to hear on an act's first release. When you listen after hearing their story it all makes a bit more sense. The Long Road to You is a record born of the triumphs, successes, crises and defeats of their pasts. Forged on the road, The Long Road to You is the sound of two people healing together, moving forward yet always mindful of the past. In many ways a miraculous accident, it almost didn’t happen. After graduating from the prestigious Carnegie-Mellon University with a degree in acting and music, Leslie Ellis moved to New York City determined to take Broadway by storm. Unlike most dreamers who embark on that questshe succeeded. After performing in the national tour of “La Cage Aux Folles,” an outdoor arena tour of “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (singing the music from “Phantom of the Opera” with Michael Crawford) and “City of Angels” on Broadway, she landed the starring role of Grizabella (the one who sings “Memory”) in “CATS”. All the while she was writing her own songs; performing them at small clubs around the city.Eventually becoming a performer of original music became her full focus, and soon enough she relocated to Santa Cruz, CA and started a folk-rock band called Lost Borders. Ellis won a few songwriting contests and started co-writing with Steve Seskin, a Nashville Hit Writer who lived in Berkeley. She soon landed a gig as a session vocalist for Sony Music, singing demos for Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Faith Hill, and Toni Braxton, and cutting backing vocals on records by Lara Fabian and Tina Arena among others.“Then they called me to sing with Celine Dion on the theme song for a new movie,” relates Ellis. “That was in the fall of 1997 and in 1998 we won a Grammy® for Record of the Year for “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie Titanic. Ellis fell into and out of a bad marriage, and due to the dot-com collapse and an AFTRA union strike she was soon also out of a job. She turned to waiting tables at night and keeping books during the day, her guitar gathering dust under the bed. “When I did finally get out of the marriage, I decided to just move to Nashville” she explains. “I was back to waiting tables right after I won a Grammy - I literally had nothing to lose and I felt like it might be my last chance.” Eventually, after more work than you’d think it would take for someone with her resume, she finally scored an invitation to a “writers round” at the famous Bluebird Café...Casey Kelly doesn’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t singing. Before any of his Grammy Award nominations, before his song “The Cowboy Rides Away” became a signature hit for George Strait, and long before he signed with Warner Brothers, Kelly shared the piano bench with his mother, playing and singing along with her. In high school he took up the guitar, and by the time he was a sophomore at LSU his cover band was opening for major artists at arenas and stadiums. After leaving school Kelly relocated to New York City and was added to the stable of writers at the legendary hit making factories at 1650 Broadway and the Brill Building, working among the likes of Carole King and other hit writers of the Tin Pan Alley days. He met and joined the Elektra Records group Ars Nova. They all relocated to Los Angeles and the band promptly broke up. Kelly then started playing guitar for Tom Rush, and moved back to the east coast. Two years later he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, decided he wanted to make his own records, moved back to Los Angeles, and nearly joined Three Dog Night and The Flying Burrito Brothers. Instead he cut two records for Elektra, and toured with Loggins & Messina, The Beach Boys, BB King, and many more.Phil Everly moved in across the street, and eventually Kelly started writing with him and joined his band. Everly encouraged him to move to Nashville, where he wrote Grammy nominated #1 hit “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight”, recorded by Kenny Rogers & Dottie West. He spent a summer in New Orleans playing and recording with the Neville Brothers and working with the likes of Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. Around this time Kelly’s marriage broke up and he became a single parent. He poured his energy into writing (“The Tiny Human10509 12th Ave NW, Seattle, WA tinyhuman.com
Cowboy Rides Away”, Tanya Tucker’s “Soon”, among others), session singing, and playing writer’s nights at the Bluebird Café – all while raising his daughter.“A friend asked if I could help him get booked at the Bluebird Café, which I was happy to do. A month or so later I arrived home in the evening, ready to relax after a long day, when I suddenly remembered I was supposed to be playing that show at the Bluebird in about a half hour” explains Kelly. “I grabbed my bag of harmonicas and a guitar and got there about 2 minutes before the show was to start.” Ellis continues “He took the last remaining seat on stage, which was next to me. I couldn’t figure who he was - his hair was disheveled and he showed up with all his chords, tuners and harmonicas in a “Wild Oats” paper shopping bag. He started quickly sound checking by playing “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight” and I said, “Oh my GOD, I know all your songs, mind if I sing background on them tonight?”They became instant friends, started singing together and eventually decided to tour together. Over the next twelve years they played together, road tested new songs and reinvented old ones, noticing how the contributions they made to each other’s music transformed it into something really special.Kelly and Ellis began performing with Todd Cerney in 2006 as a trio touring across the southeast, and in 2007 they toured Norway as the band for Norwegian star Bjøro Håland. They made a CD together and were on their way when, in 2011, Cerney was diagnosed with melanoma and passed away. Shortly thereafter things ground to a halt. “We didn’t play much for months” relates Ellis. “Our friend was gone, our trio was gone and we had a major identity crisis.” Unable to find a suitable replacement for their fallen compatriot, they decided to perform as a duo and began playing shows again.Our protagonists fell in with famed songwriter Max T. Barnes, and at dinner one night Barnes innocently asked Ellis why she never sang any songs from her Broadway days. “I said, ‘Max, no one wants to hear those songs and I don’t really want to sing them’,” she recalls. “Max looked me square in the eye and said, ‘Everyone wants to hear them and it doesn’t matter if you want to sing them or not. They are a part of your story and singing them would set you apart from all the other “just songwriters” out there’”. It was at that moment that Kelly and Ellis became Kelly&Ellis, determined to reinterpret their past through the lens of their present. Working with producer Dave Rivers, The Long Road to You grew and evolved as it was being written and recorded. Each song has its own story, yet the record as a whole feels seamless, amply demonstrating that Kelly&Ellis are profoundly, undeniably a duo; they inspire each other to rise to new heights, lift each other up, and are better together than they ever were apart.Tracking at John Willis’ Willisoundz studio and River’s own studio, The SoundTrain, both in Nashville, the process was “an amazing experience and a real labor of love,” says Ellis. “We worked until the feel was right, and genuinely captured the emotion we knew was there.” Merel Bregante (Loggins & Messina, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) handled drumming duties, and Willis himself handled just about all of the stringed instruments, except for Cello, supplementing Kelly’s skillful guitar work. Austin Hoke (cello), Jeff Taylor of the “Time Jumpers” (accordion) and Josh Culley (bodhrán, penny whistle) rounded out the ensemble. Listening to The Long Road to You, you hear flecks and flashes of two lives well lived, full of passionate love for music and the joy of performing, and very much ready to keep pushing forward. Glimmers of classic rock, Celtic music, New Orleans R&B, contemporary pop, Broadway, and of course American country music combine to push the record beyond genre and into a celebration of songwriting and the creative spirit. The Long Road to You captures a sound born of two hearts, honed over years of performing together, and full of all the pain, humor, relief, disappointment, strength and gratitude that comes from fully giving oneself over to one’s art. “We’ve given all we have to this” says Ellis. “We spent our first wedding anniversary working on the masters, because that’s the joy of it. Doing what we do... together.”

Doors 7:30PM
$10
brownpapertickets.com

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