Arts & Culture with 2County4Nashville

Aug 04, 2023 at 04:59 pm by RMGadmin

By Anna Robertson Ham

Jo-el and LeAnne Ulmer bring traditional county music, rhinestone-studded jackets and handmade cowboy boots to the stage throughout the year. The couple not only shares a stage together, but also their lives as they have been married for almost twenty-two years. 


LeAnne was raised in Williamson County and taught school for twenty-five years in the Franklin Special School District. But her dream was always, to sing. “And I’m proof that it’s never too late to pursue another dream,” LeAnne says. Jo-el grew up in the Memphis area and music was a huge part of his youth. “He even recalls dreaming of fronting a band and singing as he sat in his bedroom with his first guitar and some headphones playing his Beach Boys and Beatles albums over and over, as he learned to sing along to all the different harmonies,” LeAnne explains. But, after college, he became an over-the-road truck driver and was only able to sing along to the radio in his cab. His fellow truck drivers encouraged him to go to Nashville. 


The couple left their past careers and began their music careers together eight years ago, but their first public appearance together happened about sixteen years ago, when Jo-el asked LeAnne to sing with him on stage at a Bethesda Market community show. They sang Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s hit song “Jackson” and the crowd loved it. 


The name 2Country4Nashville is a fun pun that just stuck for the couple following a big CMT television/music show audition. They were told by the judges that they were good but just too country. LeAnne took that missed opportunity to write her very first original song about what it’s like being “Too Country for Nashville,” which climbed the charts on independent radio and was in the number one spot for seven weeks. 


Inspired and influenced by many artists - including Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton – the couple strives to bring real country music to the forefront of their style. They started with classic country duos’ cover hits and then expanded to include more covers of all the traditional country music artists. “We now have over 2,000 songs in our repertoire, and our shows end up being 100% song requests from the audience,” LeAnne says. “However, we write too! We have recently published our own album of all originals, eighteen songs, that we wrote or co-wrote. And we now have several more we haven’t yet had a chance to record.” 


“I don’t think we’re widely recognized as songwriters…maybe because we dress up for our shows in more stage/costume-like wear, we’re more considered as entertainers,” states Jo-el. “But I think LeAnne is actually one of the best songwriters I’ve ever met. I’d love if some of our originals could get heard more widely.” 


The couple says that the best part of performing is who they are performing for and that out from the stage and seeing folks watching, smiling and singing along is the best thing they could ever experience. “We are not in the music business, we are in the people business,” says LeAnne. “It’s all about bringing the people together during a show. Helping folks relive a favorite memory through a song. How these songs can stir up a time with a grandparent or parent, a specific memory of someone special or a special time in our lives. And we love that we are now introducing this style of music to a new generation as we have lots of young kids who follow us with their parents or grandparents. That is what keeps us inspired in all we do!” 


2Country4Nashville is currently on a seven-week Summer Tour for 2023, in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Texas and Louisiana. They will return to Williamson County to perform for A Vintage Affair’s Rhinestone Cowboy Gala Main Event, in August. “This is the first time we have been asked to headline a major event in my own hometown! That is what is so awesome about Carrie Drury (Director of A Vintage Affair). She believes in her local town and her local people. And she promotes them to her best abilities. She is a community gem, for certain,” says LeAnne. “We’re getting to bring together some of our favorite and very talented Nashville musicians! Some of them have toured and played with the greatest including Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Mel Tillis, Loretta Lynn, Connie Smith, Charlie Louvin, Tammy Wynette and MORE! We’re honored that they’ll be performing on stage with us for this special event. We’re also super excited that our dear friend and local Williamson County resident, Manuel Cuevas, will be the honored special guest for the evening. We’ve known and been friends with Manuel for many years, and he designed and created one-of-a-kind matching suit jackets for us when we headlined our own 2Country4Nashville show in 2021 at The Ryman Auditorium.” 


Follow @2Country4Nashville on Facebook and Instagram and visit for show and tour dates. Get your tickets now at, to support A Vintage Affair and to see them perform at the Rhinestone Cowboy Gala. “You can also catch our twice-weekly live-stream ‘Home on the Road’ shows on our Facebook page,” LeAnne adds. “As we always say, “Hey folks, this is Jo-el, and I’m LeAnne, and we are 2Country4Nashville. Do us a favor, and KINDLY KEEP IT COUNTRY... ALWAYS!”