Past Live Shows
Melissa Ellis is an award winning singer-songwriter and a 2020 quarterfinalist of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN where she shared the stage with over 100 rising solo/duo blues acts from all over the world.
Beginning her professional career as a singer/actress/dancer in theater at the age of 16, she performed in regional tours before moving on to study classical and jazz music at Tennessee Technological University as a vocalist while pursuing a singing career in Nashville.
In 2009, Melissa released her debut album Melissa Benjamin, lending her seasoned talent to the world of bluegrass & gospel. Her original single, “Crossville,” was adopted by her hometown as the official city song. While touring, she found new inspiration and started writing more original songs. With new songs came a new sound that evolved into a more soulful genre.
Melissa’s sophomore album, Just Me, was released in 2011 and as a multi-instrumentalist, the album showcased her musicianship on guitar and piano, as well as more of her original material.
Melissa’s latest musical journey brings out the raw emotional sounds of blues & her training in jazz. Her repertoire includes her original songs mixed with re-imaginings of familiar classics that are presented in fresh new ways. Melissa has landed opportunities that have placed her on world renowned stages, on radio, on television, and at high profile festivals, including Nashville’s acclaimed CMAfest where her soulful style was showcased among the sea of rising country twang.
Kayleigh’s love for music and singing started at the young age of three in Tucson, AZ. With musical influences such Reba McEntire, Vince Gil, The Eagles and Journey, she began to train professionally and performing live at the early age of five. As Kayleigh grew older her love of traditional country storytellers, such Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe and Patsy Cline, inspired her to begin writing her own story through music.
By the age of fifteen, Kayleigh had written her first song which planted the seeds for her future life endeavors. At the age of twenty-two, she began honing her songwriting skills on stage in local country bars and clubs. With her ever-growing passion for singing, writing and performing her own music, she moved to Nashville in 2018. Kayleigh knew the only way to feed the hunger within was to come to the home of country music, honky tonks and, of course, the Grand Ole Opry!
Since moving to Nashville, Kayleigh has opened for artists on the world-famous Broadway honky tonks, sang the national anthem at Vanderbilt University and venues throughout Kentucky. One of the many highlights of her young career was when she won a vocal competition for a Gospel festival. Her prize for winning this competition was the honor of performing her rendition of “How Great Thou Art” at Storytellers Hideaway Farm and Museum, which belonged to country music legend Johnny Cash. In true Kayleigh fashion, she gave her version acapella highlighting the true beauty and power of not only the song but her voice!
We are honored to host James here at the Grinder House with his second appearance.
One of six Grand Prize winners in the 2020 Tennessee Songwriter's Week Contest sponsored by The Bluebird Cafe and The Tennessee Tourism Board for my original song "Songwriter".
The July 2020 Bluebird Cafe Golden Pick Winner, co-sponsored by Taylor Guitars.
The opportunity to perform at some incredible venues such as The Grand Ole Opry House, The Ryman Auditorium, Bridgestone Arena, The Bluebird Cafe, Douglas Corner, Commodore Grille, The Walnut House Murfreesboro, Puckett's Franklin, Arrington Vineyards, GMA Seminar in the Rockies, and The Nashville Network.
Beyond fortunate to have co-written songs with some of my favorite songwriters of all time including Bobbie Cryner, Jimmy Yeary, John Scott Sherrill, Gary Nicholson, Cyndi Torres, Jeff Pearson, Michael Salacuse, Brittany Allyn, Thad Guerra, Craig Karp, Kim Parent, Shelly Rann, Don Goodman, Shirley Myers, Rod Nicholson, Rob Heath, Sheila Stephen....and many others along the way.
Being a part of the band Passenger in the early 2000's with treasured friends Barry Hackett, Mike and Kristy Rhode, Matt McGee, Mike Mahaffey, Mark Smith, and Joseph "Billy" Fulk.
Winner of several awards at the 2002 Academy of Gospel Music Arts competition (AGMA) 2002 including: Southern Gospel Song and Overall Song of 2002 for "Passenger", and Praise & Worship Song of 2002 for "If I Did Not Sing."