About a year ago, Ross Ellis was in Washington State, playing the annual Watershed Festival. A woman named Brittany Hogan was there, too, and as her friends headed to the larger stage to see a bigger act, she stuck around to watch Ellis perform.

"I'm not usually the guy that spots the girl in the crowd or whatever," Ellis tells The Boot, but a direct message on social media from Brittany sparked their relationship.

"I've gotten to hear her love of music on [the fan] side, and it's been incredible," Ellis reflects, later adding, "So as much as I gripe about all of the social media stuff and it taking up time, that's where [our relationship] came from."

Brittany lives in Portland, Ore., but despite her distance from Nashville and Ellis' (in non-pandemic times) busy work schedule, the couple has been able to spend quite a bit of time together. It's going well, Ellis says, to the point that he wrote her a song while she was in Nashville one weekend.

"Love Blind," Ellis' latest release, was co-written with Allison Veltz and Zach Kale. It's a reflection of where Ellis is at now, but also a prayer: "Tell all your angels to work overtime / Stay on both shoulders and keep me in line / You walked on water and turned it to wine / So, Lord, make me better and keep her love blind," he sings in the chorus.

"[Brittany] got to come in [and hear it] at the end of the song, while I was singing the [demo] vocal on it," Ellis shares — nothing like some instantaneous feedback on a heartfelt song to test a new-ish relationship, right?

"In my mind, I was like, 'I hope she likes it,'" he admits with a chuckle.

Ellis is fairly hard on himself in "Love Blind," especially in the first verse: "If she could see all the bottles I drank every night before I met her / Bet we woulda never made it to all the pictures and love letters," he sings.

"You've gotta have some self-awareness," Ellis says, explaining, "I've had my wild spells, and still do from time to time" — especially when he first came to Music City.

"You move to Nashville, this crazy city, and don't know a soul — of course you're going to go out and party," he continues. "I've lived, and that's my story."

During the novel coronavirus pandemic, in between golf games and visits with Brittany, Ellis has been songwriting, bringing collaborators in remotely. For about two months, he spent time each day sharing unreleased songs via social media; the daily performances were a good way to get fans' takes on Ellis' back catalog of songs as he works on a larger collection of music.

"Kinda messed up my golf swing, but ...," Ellis jokes.

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