Album Review of Robert Ellis by Robert Ellis.
Release Date: Jun 3, 2016
Record label: New West
Genre(s): Country, Pop/Rock
Robert Ellis' fine Lights from the Chemical Plant features "Tour Song" as its closer. The sparsely orchestrated track confesses to paranoia and fear while he's on the road. He speculates about possible infidelity from his wife. That story gets fleshed out on Robert Ellis. It's a divorce record that ….
On last year's vivid The Lights From The Chemical Plant, Texas-to-Nashville transplant Robert Ellis showed off poetic American songcraft recalling James Taylor and Paul Simon, folk and classic country roots branching into pop-rock with a deep twang. His fourth LP takes that impulse further. "California," about a modern Tom Joad leaving a wrecked relationship for her promised land, imagines Steely Dan covering Fleetwood Mac; "Amanda Jane" is a modified bossa nova with pedal steel.
Robert Ellis’ self-titled fourth album shows that the Americana label is not sufficient to hold the stylistic variety of the New York by way of Nashville by way of Houston songwriter. There’s a bit of each city in his songwriting voice just as free-flowing elements of country, pop, rock, and jazz appear throughout his arrangements. Robert Ellis builds upon the considerable promise of his previous New West releases, Photographs (2011) and The Lights From the Chemical Plant (2014).
The first half of 2016 has seen a number of major country releases — some stellar (Loretta Lynn, Brandy Clark), some not-so-stellar (Keith Urban, Blake Shelton) — but it’s emerging and under-the-radar artists who have made the biggest impact on the genre lately. Whether it’s through sonic ….