By Pat Moran
Grammy-nominated country-and-pop duo return with lush, guitar-rich arrangements
Before recording The Long Road to You, Casey Kelly and Leslie Ellis’ debut as Kelly & Ellis, the husband-and-wife duo had each scored a stream of accomplishments, including country hits, a showstopper from the musical CATS, and a contribution to the Academy Award-winning film Titanic.
Together, they revisit these triumphs. “The Cowboy Song” George Strait’s signature hit penned by Kelly, is recast as a forlorn waltz borne on Kelly’s ringing cantina guitar and Ellis’ warm harmonies. “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight,” Kelly’s Grammy-nominated number one for Kenny Rogers and Dottie West, rides scampering acoustics as Kelly’s declaration of love receives playful pinpricks from Ellis’ saucy interjections.
“Memory,” Ellis’ breakout number from her Broadway days, gets an Americana makeover with coiling guitars that merge front porch picking with delicate arpeggios. A revamping of Ellis and Celine Dion’s Grammy-and-Oscar-winning “My Heart Will Go On,” adds winding acoustics to sumptuous orchestration.
The pair also turns voice and guitars to new tunes.
“Who Am I to Judge” wraps a plea for tolerance in the twanging clangor of slipknot-picked guitars. Alliterative wordplay joins percussive Spanish-flavored guitar to propel “I Just Don’t Understand It.” “An Ordinary Day” jaunts along on jostling acoustics and waves of vibrato.
The Long Road to You wraps Kelly & Ellis’ journey—a tuneful autobiography, a slice of music history and a vision of their future—in lush, guitar-rich arrangements. Were lucky to go along for the ride.
Kelly & Ellis
The Long Road to You