Photo by Travis Ellison
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Kevin Ross successfully serenades at Ballentine VFW [Photos & Review]

Grammy-nominated Singer/Songwriter Kevin Ross did everything within his power to stimulate the Uptown Minneapolis crowd.

Thursday night wasn’t perfect, but it was most definitely worth the effort. Washington, D.C. native Kevin Ross’ flight was canceled the night before the show due to Wednesday’s snowstorm. Instead of arriving one day in advance, he arrived on a redeye flight the morning of the show.

Kevin Ross Live Performance
Photo by Travis Ellison

Ross and his band for the night, which included drummer Brandon Commodore (tour drummer for Mint Condition and Stokley Williams) and David Billingsley (tour keyboard player for Stokley Williams) used sound-check as their only opportunity to learn the tunes they would be playing later that night.

Kevin Ross Live Performance
Photo by Travis Ellison

Ross opened the show with “Be Great,” the first song featured on his most recent project, The Awakening. His stage presence was action packed and his vocals were pure, even with added pressures of sound difficulties from his in-ear headset, which hindered him from hearing himself while singing.

After completing one song and before starting the next, he sang out to the crowd, “Can Y’all hear me?” the crowd responded in unison with an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Kevin Ross Live Performance
Photo by Travis Ellison

Apart from Ross’ songwriting talents, he’s also well-known on social media for his ability to create mash-up covers. The covers sometimes include over 10 video recordings of himself singing in harmony while beatboxing and changing songs with effortless transitions.

He brought a special mash-up to Minnesota featuring Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down,” Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk,” Jodeci’s “Come and Talk to Me.” He completed the mash-up with a special tribute to Prince with his own rendition of “Diamonds and Pearls.”

Kevin Ross Live Performance
Photo by Travis Ellison

Ross took a moment to introduce a song he’s been working on that will most likely make it onto his upcoming album, Audacity. He performed the song, “Thing Called Love,” for the first time in front of a live audience.

Ross said the song was about the fears a man faces when he’s ready to go to the next level with a woman (marriage), about wanting to be able to provide for her every need but never feeling like he’s good enough at love itself.

Kevin Ross Live Performance
Photo by Travis Ellison

After a quick break, Ross returned to sing “Long Song Away,” which is perhaps his most recognized track. During just this song alone, the following things happened:

•    He allowed a fan to sing his lyrics into his mic.

•    He left the stage to join the audience, where he danced with a fan while the crowd surrounded them.

•    He was offered his first drink of the night by a fan which he jokingly declined.

•    He ran to the back of the room and stood atop the bar to perform for the fans in that area.

•    He was then offered his second drink of the night, a shot from the bar, which he took a small sip of before returning to the stage.

Kevin Ross Collage 4 smallres
Photo by Travis Ellison

Ross delivered a special performance under unfavorable circumstances. This show displayed Ross’ tremendous talent as an artist/performer, as well as the talent and adaptability of the band members who accompanied him.

Stay tuned for the sit-down interview that was conducted with Ross after the show.

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