Opportunities to make it big in the music industry are few and far between for even the best of talents, especially when you live in a small town where the chance to perform on a regular basis is limited due to lack of locations to play and the vast amount of local talent vying to play the same shows is as large as it is in the hills of Appalachia.
Opportunities keep coming for one local group as they continue to fight to continue on in their dreams to perform on as large a scale as possible. For Chris Ellis and his band The Weekenders, the road has not always been easy but the front man says faith in God will get them where they need to be.
“It’s just been a long, hard road but I have never lost the faith that God will put me where I’m supposed to be,” said Ellis. “So even if it all ended today, I am so thankful.” The band was recently chosen for Knoxville-based rock music station 103.5 WIMZ’s ‘Road to Roo’ contest after Ellis filled out an application for a chance to play at one of Tennessee’s largest and most popular music festivals — Bonnaroo. The band was one of the few chosen to compete and went on to be one of the winners of the preliminary round held in Maryville, Tennessee at Two Doors Down. Ellis and The Weekenders next traveled to Market Square in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee to perform at the semi-finals at The Preservation Pub. Despite having a large hometown crowd at the semi-finals just as they had at the preliminary round, and having the crowd on their feet during the entire show, the band later found out they did not make it through to the final round.
The disappointment of not making it through to the finals of the competition was quickly overshadowed when the band found out they had the opportunity to play at Nashville’s Tootsies Orchid Lounge — one of the most well-known venues in Music City. Tootsie’s alum includes current music hit makers Justin Moore, Cole Swindell, Chris Janson and Tara Thompson.
The historic venue has been a staple in Nashville’s downtown area since the 1960’s, so the opportunity to play at the stomping grounds of country legends such as Kris Kristofferson, Faron Young, Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall, Hank Cochran, Mel Tillis, Roger Miller, Webb Pierce, Waylon Jennings, and Patsy Cline, is a tremendous break for the band. Ellis says the group is humbled and honored by the opportunity.
“Tootsie’s truly is world famous & the premiere place to play in Nashville,” said Ellis. “The list of legends that have performed on that stage and gotten their breaks is mind-blowing and God willing, maybe they can add my name to that list someday.”
The band hopes to have the show live streamed so fans can watch the show which is scheduled to start at noon, Central Standard Time.
Ellis draws inspiration from a variety of genres of music but cites his current favorite artist as Ben Harper — who will be playing at The Tennessee Theater in Knoxville on April 20.
“He’s my greatest inspiration,” said Ellis.
After the show in Nashville on Saturday, Ellis and The Weekenders will be back at one of their favorite hometown venues — The Oasis, on Thursday, from 9 to 11 p.m.
Fans can follow Ellis on all social media platforms and those interested in booking a show for the spring or summer can email [email protected] For a complete list of currently booked shows, visit www.chrisellisofficial.com
Reach Reina P. Cunningham at 606-302-9091 or on Twitter @ReinaDailyNews.