This June! Select number of shows for Robert Ellis and his band11-05-2017
For all its offshoots and mutations, there remains the suspicion that country music has pretty strict border controls. Recent years have seen a number of artists, evidently mindful of being typecast, break out into more inclusive territory. Sturgill Simpson is a keen example, forgoing the traditional slant of his early work for amorphous albums that embrace gospel, psychedelia and cosmology; while the likes of Daniel Romano, Justin Townes Earle and Israel Nash have all ditched their prior formalism for a more expansive type of music whose relationship to country has become increasingly tenuous.
Much the same can be said of Robert Ellis. Reared in the Southern Texas enclave of Lake Jackson, Ellis emerged from a religious community where there were just two types of music: country and bluegrass. By the time he began his recording career he shifted back and forth between countrypolitan and folk – suggested he belonged to the lineage of George Jones or Kris Kristofferson. But 2014’s wonderful The Lights From The Chemical Plant flipped all that on its head. This time country played a secondary role to R’n’B, white soul, a dash of jazz and a baroque form of singer-songwriterly pop. It was a vivid and unexpected transformation, Ellis tapping into such influences as Paul Simon and Randy Newman.
His latest s/t album feels like a natural extension of this approach, placing an even greater distance between its creator and his roots. At its heart this is essentially a great pop album. Both “Perfect Strangers” and the burnished “California” sound like the sort of bittersweet entreaties that might have come from the pen of Dwight Twilley in his ’70s prime. Or, more recently, West Coast darlings Dawes. We hear anything from yearning guitar-pop, stabby piano riffs, twanging country-rock, fabulously digressive jazz-rock and everything in between.
We're so excited to see Robert Ellis and his band return for a select number of shows next month!
03-JUNE: Berlin (DE) @ Quasimodo
04-JUNE: Stuttgart (DE) @ Galao
05-JUNE: Raalte (NL) @ Ribs & Blues
06-JUNE: Bern (CH) @ Mahogany Hall
08-JUNE: Corsier (CH) @ Concert à la Grange
09-JUNE: Eeklo (BE) @ N9
10-JUNE: Amsterdam (NL) @ Paradiso w/ Nikki Lane