Saturday, June 10
Main Stage – 2:35 p.m.
“My dad will tell you that when I was little, the car radio had to be on the country station,” Lindsay Ell explained. “If my older brother touched the dial, I would beg him to turn it back. It got to the point that if they were listening to something else, all I had to do was get in the car and they’d automatically flip over to country.”
Coming from a family with deep musical roots, the Stoney Creek Records’ artist started playing piano and guitar at a very early age.
“I learned how to play guitar traveling to country-bluegrass camps with my dad, and knew right from the beginning of my strong passion for country music,” she said.
Starting on piano at six, guitar at eight, and singing in her church youth group at 10 (“the most forgiving audience ever”), the 24-year-old Calgary native was discovered at 13 by BTO and The Guess Who’s Randy Bachman (“American Woman,” “Takin’ Care Of Business”).
“Randy learned guitar from master jazz guitarist Lenny Breau, so I dove head-first into this world of blues, jazz and rock guitar – learning all these different solos, switching radio stations and trying to get an idea of where all those techniques come from,” Ell said. “I was listening to Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Clapton, Derek Trucks and all those incredible guitar players.”
Ell’s passion and study has served her well, leading to several unique opportunities, including an opening slot with blues icon Buddy Guy; however, her first songwriting trip to Nashville was the catalyst that brought her early affinity for country full-circle.
“When I got here, it was like I was home,” she said. “I didn’t need to put on a facade of who I was or wasn’t. And I finally fell back into my roots. Coming to Nashville brought me to who I am and who I’m meant to be.”
Because it is rare, she knows her six-string prowess is not the only focal point, but an accent to her vision as an artist.
“There aren’t a lot of girls who play electric lead guitar, and it can be a defining thing,” she said. “First and foremost, I want people to hear me and understand my voice as a country music recording artist. When they come see me, I’d love it if they were impressed at my guitar and piano playing. But by that point, hopefully they understand the artist behind it all has a lot of different sides to her music.”
To get to that point, she knows radio will be key – and she can’t wait. “Going out on a radio tour and having the chance to share my music and show people how ready I am is the most exciting step I’ve made yet.”
Having spent a decade learning about the music industry from the front of a stage, Lindsay Ell is more than ready for that step – however big or small.
“Playing live, honing my craft and developing as performer before taking my first serious try at being a recording artist and getting radio airplay gives me a foundation a lot of artists just don’t get. I’ve had the cords fail, the monitors shut down and mics die. I’ve seen all kinds of crowds … and no crowd at all. I feel ready as a singer and a musician. I have confidence as a performer. I’ve been writing for years and, since moving to Nashville, have found how best to communicate who I am,” Ell said. “I’m comfortable in a conference room with six people or onstage opening for Keith Urban in front of thousands. It’s really not that different. Both are exciting and a little humbling. Either way, I’m ready to go.”
Some of Lindsay Ell’s hit songs:
“By The Way”
“Shut Me Up”
“Trippin’ On Us”