Robert Ellis Robert Ellis on Colored LP + Download
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Robert Ellis returns in June 2016 with his eponymous fourth album on New West Records. The 11-song, self-titled set is his most personal statement yet and a summation of his career thus far. Robert Ellis follows his critically acclaimed 2014 release, The Lights From The Chemical Plant and was self-produced by Ellis at Sugar Hill Studios in his hometown of Houston, TX with engineer Steve Christensen (Steve Earle) and mixed by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.)
Robert Ellis opens with "Perfect Strangers," a meditation on what brings people together (and how tenuous that connection can be), and ends with "It's Not OK," a raw look at emotional compromise. Between those two powerful bookends are nine other songs that show Ellis' full command of a vibrant set of songwriting skills - irony, distance, character, narrative, a thoughtful relationship between sound and sense. Included is the first single, the dynamic "How I Love You," the pop pleasure of "California," the bossa nova shuffle and melodic ‘70s soft rock of "Amanda Jane," the emotional center of the record, "The High Road," and the breathtaking and epic "You're Not The One;" all presenting multiple sides of Ellis' control and talent.
Many of the songs have an element of melancholy as some of the record revolves around the dissolution of Ellis' marriage (the pair remain friends) but also hope and happiness play an equal role. It's an album of owning mistakes, self-discovery, and accepting hard truths. It's also an album that finds Ellis reaching into the trick bags of masters like Paul Simon, John Prine, and Randy Newman, all artists that have been consistent risk takers, and employing the full complement of skills that he has learned from studying their songcraft. It's analytical and emotional, calculated in spots and improvisational in others, restless, peaceful, never indifferent, never dispassionate.