Top positive review
Quality Contemporary Singer-Songwriting From Twentysomething Texan
on 17 July 2016
Now being in my late fifties, and having consumed music for well over fifty years, I tend to feel a little jaded about 'new music'. I am writing this in mid-July, 2016, and earlier this year, the British Phonographic Institute announced that in 2014, sales of 'old' music out-preformed that of new music for the first time ever. This seems to confirm my somewhat jaundiced opinion on contemporary music. Well, I am now going to contradict myself by offering up this twenty-something Houston, Texas based singer-songwriter, Robert Ellis as being a fine example of how good the music of the present day can be. Robert Ellis is a fine tunesmith, whose warm vocal tones share a commonality to venerable country singers such as George Jones, but his lyrical worldview is as up-to-the-minute as his age. 'The Lights From The Chemical Plant' is a marvellous, stylistically-varied set that has him shifting shapes and lyrical points of view with the deftness of a Dylan, but with the melodic grace of prime time James Taylor. Sometimes he sound more careworn and brow beaten than a man of his age should do; there is some deep soul-searching going on here, but there's wit and wisdom, too. He even takes on Paul Simon's 'Still Crazy After all These Years', and if not quite making it his own, does add something of a fresh take on it. Ellis is also a very accomplished guitar player, and his accompaniments go beyond variations on the three chord trick, incorporating deft finger picking and some Jazzy chordings here and there, which show his musicality is as finely-honed as his lyrical skills. This really is quality stuff, and this grizzled cynic doesn't mind nailing his colours to the mast in Robert Ellis' favour.