Golden Isles Magazine
It has the makings of a perfect country song — boy meets girl; they fall in love; and they ride a pickup down a dirt road to happily ever after.
Of course, it didn’t happen exactly that way for C.C. Witt and Patrick Ellington — but it’s fairly close.
Both grew up in and around the Savannah area, each embracing music at an early age. “I have always had a love for music, and sitting around the piano at family gatherings while we all sang was always something my family would do. So music has always been a big part of growing up,” Witt says. “When I was 13, I picked up the guitar and never put it down.”
Ellington walked a similar line. First learning chords with his father, he was eventually gifted a Willie Nelson songbook that featured a chord chart. “I learned most of my chords from looking at that chart. To practice, I would listen to all sorts of music and just play along,” he says.
While Ellington’s tastes evolved, he always had a special place in his heart for country music. “As a teenager I was more into classic rock artists such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC,” he says. “As an adult, there was sort of a rediscovery of my country roots. I had gone full circle, starting and ending with that old Willie Nelson songbook.”
The couple — who sealed their vows on September 24, 2017, during a ceremony at Woodlawn Plantation in Guyton — were introduced by someone who thought that they would, quite literally, make beautiful music together.
Turns out, they did.
“We met through a mutual friend who brought us together to play through some songs that C.C. had written. We started dating about a year after that, and the rest is history,” Ellington says.
The duo has been playing music together for about 12 years, and their musical collaboration is also a testament to their love. In fact, the band’s name, Lyn Avenue, offers a special nod to their romantic beginnings.
“Lyn Avenue is the name of the street near where we first met, and where our band formed and grew,” Witt says. “So when we picked a name, we wanted something that subtly told people where we came from.”
Today, Witt and Ellington write songs and perform together throughout the region. They are often accompanied by other musicians to round out Witt’s angelic vocals and create a robust sound. “We have a full band who join us on stage for the majority of our performances throughout the year,” Witt says. “Our bassist, Larry Jones, is our longest standing player and has been with us for almost five years now. We are beyond blessed to play with such an excellent lineup of musicians.”
The result is a vibe of a bygone era. Fans of classic country music will recognize the soulful ballads and blends that focuses heavily on the power of story to elevate the lyrics. It’s a far cry from more modern, poppy interpretations of the genre that rely more on kitsch and cliche rather than diving into realistic topics.
“We tend to lean towards writing music that is reminiscent of classic country artists, such as Dolly Parton and the like, because we appreciate good storytelling and the charm that those older records have,” Witt says. “Someone once described our music as ‘refreshingly honest,’ and we personally really liked that description. We keep things honest and true to our Southern Georgia upbringing.”
As with all relationships, each partner brings their own personality into the mix. That is reflected in songs, as well. “At times, C.C. will delve into deeper topics such as the emotional toll that performing night after night can have. In contrast, my songwriting ideas usually take a lighter, more humorous tone,” Ellington says.
But their writing process is also a partnership. The two lean heavily on one another, which helps ideas develop and grow. “Over the years, we have learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses; and many times for example, when he starts a song, he needs me to help him finish it. I just wrote a song where I needed him to help me write the chorus,” Witt says.
It can be tricky for couples to work together in any career field. One as creative and personal as songwriting certainly presents its own challenges. But rather than driving a wedge between them, music has drawn Witt and Ellington closer together.
“We also have learned how to approach each other and be constructive when writing together because songwriting is such an intimate part of us as musicians. And when you show someone a piece of an unfinished song, it’s a big, exposed, soft part of you,” Witt says.
“In all honesty, our music is another way we are even more deeply connected. We spend a lot of time together because we not only live together but work together, too. But truthfully, I can’t imagine it any other way. It would be a lot harder to do all of it alone — the late nights and traveling ... we’re best friends and it’s always been that way.”
In keeping with their lyrical honesty, however, the two are also comfortable sharing the less idealized side of their collaboration. “Not to say we don’t have little spats once in a while — nobody’s perfect. Right now, in fact, we are working on a funny little song about marriage and some of those quirky teetering-on-the-edge-of-annoying things that are laughable moments,” Witt adds.
Incorporating both the shine and struggle into songs is their forte. A good example of that can be found on Lyn Avenue’s most recent album — “Never Been to Nashville,” available for sampling on the band’s website, lynavenue.com. The five-song EP includes a bonus track and has been well-received, the duo say. The single “Kentucky Bourbon” has more than 30,000 views for the music video.
And while Lyn Avenue can often be found in their hometown of Savannah, they also mosey down to the Golden Isles from time to time. “Our favorite venue to perform in the Golden Isles is Palm Coast. They have an awesome atmosphere for live music and we always have a great turnout of our fans,” Ellington says.
Written by Lindsey Adkinson (Golden Isles Magazine)