Robert Ellis: “Westbound Train”
In a recent Texas Monthly article, Robert Ellis admitted that his new LP, Photographs (which came out last week), doesn’t fit nicely into a particular genre. “I want to find an audience that’s open and, most of all, patient. I don’t want to be just one thing. I can’t think of anything more boring.” For music critics and journalists, what Ellis calls “boring” is something of an imperative. We need to call the music something. Here goes: Ellis’ music is a cross between traditional country and indie-rock (in the same article, Ellis notes, in Blues-Brothers-Bob’s-Country-Bunker-style, that for his family “there were two types of music: country and bluegrass”).
Ellis grew up in Lake Jackson, Texas – a refining town on the Gulf of Mexico. He moved to Houston four years ago when he turned 18 and began gigging in the local honky-tonks and bars, sparking a small but passionate fan base.
Photographs is Ellis’ debut on New West Records (Steve Earle, John Hiatt, Kris Kristofferson) and he’s currently on a 13-date tour with label-mates and fellow genre-defyers, Old 97s. Before leaving, he stopped by KUT to record some of the brand new tunes live in the studio. “Westbound Train” strikes a mix between indie-folk and country that makes Ellis’ music both intriguing and infectious.