By LARRY VAUGHT
If you are a Kentucky basketball fan heading to the SEC Tournament in Nashville this week, you might want to take time on Friday before the Cats play their first game to attend the UK pep rally at Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville.
Part of the entertainment will be singer Hannah Ellis, a UK graduate from Campbellsville who has now lived in Nashville for six years. She will have a 20-minute acoustic set during the pep rally. The pep rally starts at 2 p.m. CST and will also include Jamie Saylor, A Common Wealth Band and the UK Band, Cheerleaders and Dance Team (Cost is $15 at the door with no cost for children 12 and under).
Back in 2015 Ellis was in a commercial for the UK Alumni Association that promoted the school and played during the basketball season. Since then the association has stayed in touch with her and she was thrilled to be asked to perform at the SEC pep rally.
“My music is country pop leaning, very new age and I was pretty proud to get asked to perform at the pep rally,” Ellis, a marketing major at UK, said. “I write all my music myself. I try to write songs that are relatable to everyone.”
She was on Season 8 of The Voice and many of the songs she’s written have been recorded. She has opened for acts such as Dwight Yoakam, Montgomery Gentry and Devin Dawson.
“I opened for Montgomery Gentry about this time last year a couple of times. People really come out to support that show and Eddie (Montgomery) is a big UK fan, too,” Ellis said.
She’s also been chosen for the upcoming CMT Next Women of Country tour with Clare Dunn and Cassadee Pope that will make a stop at Manchester Music Hall in Lexington April 20. The tour will also take her to Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte, Boston, New York and Washington D.C.
Ellis isn’t sure if she will see the Cats play in person this week or not.
“I have always been a big basketball fan but sometimes it is tough to watch because my boyfriend is from here, so it’s not always ideal to watch UK play with him,” she said. “I have talked to some contacts about tickets for the tournament but for me it is usually more fun to just watch with friends. They travel here and we just set up shop in certain UK bars and really have fun that way watching.”
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Ellis said her music can be found on any “streaming” service or any hannaellismusic.com