Rising country star Roman Alexander to play Elray’s

On Friday, March 24, rising country star Roman Alexander will perform at Elray’s Live and Dive, debuting new music and celebrating his latest release, ‘Mess Me Up.’


Photo contributed by Roman Alexander

Stella Shipman, Arts Reporter

Country music will grace the main stage of a local downtown bar this Friday, telling stories through songs and entertaining audiences in a welcoming environment.

Roman Alexander will perform on March 24 at Elray’s Live and Dive, a downtown bar that has hosted various local, regional, and national performers since it opened in July 2020.

Alexander was named one of Spotify’s Hot Country Artists to Watch in 2021 and charted on the Spotify U.S. Viral 50. He is also one of the longest-running independent artists on Spotify’s Hot Country playlist.

The singer hails from Parkville, Missouri, a town outside Kansas City. He grew up listening to his uncle’s country band, which was influenced by artists like Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. When he entered high school, Alexander began performing live in local bars.

After graduating in 2015, the up-and-comer headed straight for Nashville, Tennessee. He established a social media presence while washing cars at an Audi dealership. Alexander also sold merchandise for artists like Shenandoah, Jo Dee Messina, and Easton Corbin, which helped him build a foundation for his career.

“I had a nice little transition from merch to the music career, and it was nice to be able to see what I liked and didn’t like about it,” Alexander said. “So, I definitely got my start and learned a lot about myself as a musician doing that job.”

Elray’s owner Bob Elray said Alexander made a great impression when he first performed a little over a year ago with Nashville country artist Levi Hummon. He said he considers Alexander a rising country star.

As a self-taught musician, Elray understands the hard work required to establish a musical career and values the importance of supporting rising artists.

“If you’re into supporting the arts and into supporting music, I think not just looking at calendars and trying to see who you know and going to those shows, but sort of pushing yourself to discover more music, learn more music and more genres, is certainly good and gets more shows to the market for sure,” Elray said.

As a business owner, Elray recognizes that shows for local artists are more important to draw attention to small venues.

Alexander is performing at Elray’s for the second time to promote his newest release, “Mess Me Up,” and his upcoming track, “Bourbon Street,” which will be released to streaming platforms the same day as his appearance at Elray’s.

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Considering the enthusiasm of audiences at his last show, the country singer looks forward to another great set enjoyed by crowds. Alexander hopes audiences will enjoy themselves and the stories of his songs and interact with him.

“First and foremost, I try to keep it to where [audiences] feel like they can talk to me at any time, like coming up to me at the end of a show,” Alexander said. “When they come out to your show, you want to be personable and talk to them. So my number one goal is to make them enjoy the show but make them enjoy the show enough to want to come over and talk to me after.”

In the country music community, Elray’s has developed a reputation for sharing music of all kinds and being a good venue for artists. With a production team and staff members who Elray says treat people and artists the right way, artists are often excited to perform there and draw the community to shows.

Despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Elray’s persevered, undergoing construction and opening the venue to a limited and separated crowd. Now, the business is making the most of loosened COVID-19 restrictions.

“It certainly was a different experience, but it was a good experience,” Elray said. “And even though [opening during COVID-19] wasn’t our intention, it was still fun to get open.”

Elray says the bar has several notable acts lined up on the calendar for April, including Kylie Morgan and other Nashville-based artists. He encourages everyone to come out for the performances to support both the artists and the local business.

Both Elray and Alexander anticipate a good turnout on Friday, especially with the release of Alexander’s songs. As the rising country star looks to the future, he aspires to tour and play wherever he can and put his name out there.

“You got to prove yourself, and it’s going to come down to the song for me,” Alexander said. “For me, the aspirations are the really good music — put out good music, record great music, and be on the road nonstop.”

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