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Album Review

Texas singer/songwriter Robert Ellis is not shy about citing his influences, name-checking "Lefty [Frizzell], Willie [Nelson], Hank [Williams], and Townes [Van Zandt]" in "Comin' Home," a song on his second album, Photographs. In keeping with the disc's nostalgic tone, Ellis has nearly divided it into two sides like an old LP, in musical and thematic terms. On the first five songs, he creates restrained arrangements based on his gently picked acoustic guitar, singing specific, confessional lyrics in a wispy country tenor. After two tunes devoted to the subject of friendship ("Friends Like Those," "Bamboo"), he traces the beginnings of a relationship on "Cemetery" (where, ominously, it is consummated) and "Two Cans of Paint" (in which housekeeping is set up). A transition is effected in "Westbound Train," as, halfway through, Ellis builds up a traditional country arrangement with drums kicking in. The second part of the CD is full of such band tunes, the sound harking back to the 1950s of Frizzell, as Ellis describes the deterioration of the love story he began earlier. He, it seems, drinks; she, he thinks, cheats. The traditional sound gives the words a more generalized tone and even undercuts them somewhat, however. "No Fun," for instance, is set to a honky tonk hoedown that belies its vindictive lyrics. Meanwhile, as a singer Ellis has built up to a George Jones-like belt, the better to give his words a more universal context. Photographs thus has it both ways as an intimate singer/songwriter effort and a tribute to the country music Ellis reveres.

Customer Reviews

New favourite

Came across Robert Ellis as he was support for Justin Townes Earle. Thought we would give this album a whirl and it has very quickly become a new favourite

Its my new favourite to , by ben michael

I also saw him supporting Justin Townes Earle . He was great . Had the "new"audience eating out of his palm.
Love this record . The more I play it the better it becomes . His voice is very warmimg , like a good cup of coffee.
Buy this record.


Born: Houston, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Before signing with New West Records in early 2011, country songwriter Robert Ellis made a name for himself in Houston, Texas. Inspired by the country, folk, and bluegrass records he’d heard while growing up in southern Texas, Ellis began playing shows around the city, eventually landing a Wednesday night residency at a local venue called Fitzgerald’s. His audience grew as a result of those weekly shows, nicknamed "Whiskey Wednesdays" for their rowdy nature and half-drunk clientele, and Ellis earned...
Full Bio
Photographs, Robert Ellis
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