Album Reviews

Kelly and Ellis

The Long Road to You

Artist:     Kelly and Ellis

Album:     The Long Road to You

Label:     Self Released

Release Date:     02/24/2017

For every duo that makes it big, there are ten more hoping to follow in their footsteps. For Leslie Ellis and Casey Kelly, “fame” is something they have both experienced before meeting. The experience of “fate” however, took its time to work some magic and have the two musicians collide at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.

Leslie Ellis took on Broadway (which is very evident in her vocals on The Long Road to You). She landed roles in La Cage Aux Folles, City of Angels and CATS. She was also writing her own songs and performing them around New York City. Eventually, she moved to Santa Cruz, CA where a gig as a session vocalist for Sony Music found her singing demos and background for Céline Dion, Barbra Streisand, Faith Hill and Toni Braxton. In 1998, the Grammy for Record of the Year went to “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie Titanic– Ellis was a part of that song. A country-road, ballad version of the song can be heard on The Long Road to You.

Casey Kelly had similar experiences- his song “The Cowboy Rides Away” became a hit for George Strait, he toured with Loggins & Messina, the Beach Boys, BB King; he co-wrote Grammy nominated #1 hit, “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight,” recorded by Kenny Rogers & Dottie West.

Sadly, both Ellis and Casey experienced breakups in their marriages and found themselves living in Nashville. After meeting, they lifted each other up, inspired each other, wrote together. The Long Road To You has all the components one would expect from a duo with backgrounds such as theirs– humor, sadness, strength and gratitude. Specs of their past (personal and professional) are heard throughout this album. Track eight, “Just Ask Me,” is the perfect example of how well these two work together. They’re fun, beautiful, heartbreaking and so much more wrapped up into a collision of genres (classic rock, Celtic, New Orleans R&B, contemporary pop, Broadway) from their careers.

The Long Road to You is about their journey to find each other, to find their place; for the listeners, we finally found them.

-Brenda Hillegas

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