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Robert Ellis
The Lights from the Chemical Plant - NEW WEST
FILTER Grade: 83%

By Kyle Lemmon on February 14, 2014


Robert Ellis

Robert Ellis’ slept-on 2011 album Photographs was an excellent bifurcation of folk and genre styles. Ellis has since moved from Houston to Nashville, and based on his ruminative and stark story songs on his second effort for New West Records, The Lights from the Chemical Plant, he’s reeling from love, self-deception and the loneliness of touring. Influences range from veteran singer-songwriters such as Willie Nelson, Bob Wills, Randy Newman and free-jazz artist Ornette Coleman. The inspirations comingle beautifully on the darkly romantic title track and the “TV Song” curio about watching the boob tube with his wife. Producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones) gives each song a poppy slant even when the lyrical content wrestles with the jetsam of life. There’s even a classy and soulful rendition of Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” thrown in for good measure. The Lights from the Chemical Plant is a defining achievement for Ellis’ swiftly ascending career.

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