IT'S HER MOVE

Kellie Coffey puts down roots in Nashville

Story by Chris Neal • Photo by Tim Campbell

The back door of Kellie Coffey's new house swings open. It's husband Geoff Koch, who's just returned from an emergency trip to buy an item essential for any young couple who has just moved into a new house.

"I got a pair of rabbit ears, hon'," he announces.

"Sweet!" she responds.

That means currently cable-less Kellie won't miss the weekend's upcoming University of Oklahoma vs. Texas college football game - a must for this OU alum, and one more comfort that will make this tasteful brick structure 30 miles east of Nashville feel like home.

"We're two days into it, so we've got a ways to go," she sighs, surveying the nearly empty expanse of the living room as music from Rebecca Lynn Howard's new album plays in the background. Before the move, Kellie and Geoff had been splitting time between an apartment on the west side of Nashville and their house in Los Angeles, where Geoff has long prospered as a session singer.

Now they've put down their stakes in the Music City area, although a few crucial things are still missing. "A lot of my winter and fall clothes are in California," Kellie chuckles. "What am I going to do? It's a fashion crisis!"

The house will remain relatively empty at least until Christmas, when Kellie and Geoff are tentatively planning to rent a moving truck and drive cross-country from L.A. with the rest of their possessions - taking time out for a holiday stopover in Oklahoma to see Kellie's family. "It's so expensive to hire movers, so I think we're gonna save money that way," she explains. "And then we can have some furniture in our house, which would be a nice thing."

Furniture or no, the pair is already knee-deep in Nashville life. Geoff has just begun work as managing director of the Nashville Independent Film Festival, and, of course, Kellie's career is blooming with the success of her second hit, the inspirational "At The End Of The Day." It's a song that itself feels like home to her, as she wrote it with her friend, fellow rising star and Oklahoma transplant Brett ("Chasin' Amy") James.

"We were just talking about how crazy life can get trying to be an artist, and how we never want to forget who we are," she says. "The most important thing is to be a good person, and that's what this song is about."

That crazy life has just gotten crazier since Kellie wrote the song, as she watched her debut hit "When You Lie Next To Me" rise to the Top 10 and spent the summer on a high-profile tour with Kenny Chesney.

"He's really been sweet to me," she reports. "I feel like he's taken me under his wing a little bit. Getting advice from people like him, and some of the other superstars that I've admired and listened to, it's an exciting time for me. It's like I'm on the outskirts of it, looking in and going, 'Wow, I might get to go there.' "

And she's well on her way. She'll be touring again with Kenny early next year, and she's even getting recognized in public - sort of. "One day we were in a restaurant and a lady there said, 'Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Kellie Coffey?' " she laughs. "I was like, 'Yeah, I get that a lot.' "

She's sure to become a regular face here in this peaceful subdivision, surrounded by rolling Middle Tennessee hills - though she's barely had time to take in the scenery. But already, she and Geoff have learned at least one lesson while moving belongings from their Nashville apartment.

"Label your boxes," she urges. "Of course, we didn't do that. We were just so crazy, we threw it all in trash sacks and moved it over! It would have made it so much easier to unpack."

Of course, Kellie doesn't have much experience in this field - a self-professed "home girl," she hasn't moved around very much in her life. "Moving is always so stressful for me," she confesses. "The first move I did was to college, but that was only 30 minutes away from home. When I graduated and moved to L.A., that was my first traumatic experience with it.

"I was 22, fresh off the turnip truck!" she recalls with a laugh. "I was lost all the time - that's nothing new, but I was lost in a bigger city! I missed my family, I didn't have a job. But I was just stubborn and stuck it out - and I loved it."

And she already feels that way about her new locale. "Geoff and I were walking around here last night, saying, 'Our house is so pretty!' " she smiles. "We're so excited to be living here. The first day we saw it, we just looked at each other and said, 'Yeah, we love this house.' "

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