Robert Ellis

Robert Ellis

Tom Brosseau, Henry Dunkle

Sat. July 2, 2016

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm


$12.00 - $15.00

This event is 18 and over

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
"I want this record to be more about the Paul Simons and the Randy Newmans and the other half of my upbringing, which is very much rooted in pop." – Ellis recently told Rolling Stone

Robert Ellis is the kind of songwriter who only comes along once in a great while. With his first two albums, a promise was made. With his new record, The Lights from the Chemical Plant, that promise has been delivered and fully realized. The music, like the artist, refuses to accept the confines of a box, and burns white-hot from the inside out. But what seems even more striking about this record, this musician, even at a first glance, is that feeling of unyielding authenticity.

With every remarkable cut, with every twist and turn, Robert's life and his experience, shine through. His days growing up in a small industrial town in Texas, his move to Houston, and now as a 24-year-old man, when not on the road performing around the world, living with his wife in Nashville.

The Lights from the Chemical Plant, produced with great care and precision by Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones), and recorded at Eric Masse's Casino studio in East Nashville for New West Records, is an album that has a way of grabbing you by the hand and pulling you in so that it can play with your soul. Alive with memories and innovation, you become absorbed in the world Robert paints with his smoky lyrics, his hypnotic voice, and his masterful work on the guitar. But then something happens. Something new. Something special. And it begins with the very song for which the album is named, "Chemical Plant." You realize that Robert's building layer upon layer of different sounds from different places and different times. A synthesis of sounds and textures that pick you up and pull you in even deeper.

R&B, bossa nova, fusion, free jazz – from the rousing beat of "Good Intentions" to the floor stomping bluegrass anthem "Sing Along," you've bought your ticket and you're in for the ride. And so it goes, the floodgates standing wide open. The quiet, unexpected feel of a jazz guitar in perfect union with a steel guitar in the ballad, "Steady as the Rising Sun." And so it goes. The soulful wobble of a saxophone in "Bottle of Wine," and the dreamy pedal steel that draws you into "TV Song." These are songs about love gained, about love lost, about growing up in a place where nobody stands too tall for fear of being knocked down ("Sing Along"). These are songs about lives broken, lives healed, and moving on.

As if that weren't enough, Robert gives us his interpretation of Paul Simon's classic, "Still Crazy After All These Years," which is pure elegance, cut against the song "Only Lies" with its quiet pulse, its dusky blue lyrics, and the story of a man trying to help a friend who refuses to believe that her husband is cheating on her...

Only lies can comfort you,
Only lies will see you through.
Just because a thing's convenient,
That doesn't make it true.
Only lies can comfort you.

Ellis' growth as a man and musician is clear on The Lights from the Chemical Plant. And while some may call it a musical departure from his past, The Houston Chronicle best explains: "Ellis doesn't place limitations on his music. Any perceived departure is just part of an ongoing creative journey."

– Robert Ellis, not the musician, but the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller, City of Fire.
Tom Brosseau
Tom Brosseau
Tom Brosseau, North Dakota-born, LA-based songwriter and singer, will join as special guest of Robert Ellis (New West Records) for a month of summer touring. Brosseau & Ellis met earlier this year, while performing at the Cayamo music festival. Brosseau performed with the Watkins Family Hour, led by Sara and Sean Watkins and featuring David Garza, Sebastian Steinberg and Don Heffington.

Audiences at the Ellis/Brosseau shows will hear new music from both artists, Ellis in support of his upcoming album release; Brosseau will reward fans with previews of his newly recorded album produced by Sean Watkins.

Brosseau learned acoustic guitar from his grandmother; has toured Japan, Canada, Portugal, Iceland, Australia; performed in bars, backyards, grand halls, subways, theaters, old folks homes; exchanged songs and poetry with many talented folks, including Susan Orlean, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Patrick Marber, Bonnie Raitt and the late Sam Hinton.

Tom Brosseau on his background:
"I grew up with music in the church, in the school, music at home. I learned a lot of hymnal and folk songs, both traditional and contemporary, and since I was influenced by what my grandparents listened to, in a sense I studied the singers and songwriters of the great American songbook."

Not long after Brosseau moved to Los Angeles in 2003, he began performing at the renowned club, Largo, where he met Sara and Sean Watkins. Sean Watkins recorded Brosseau's much praised 2014 release, Grass Punks as well as the forthcoming 2016 album.

John Parish (PJ Harvey) produced Brosseau's 2015 album, Perfect Abandon. Brosseau and a three-piece band of electric guitar, double bass & drumkit, recorded Perfect Abandon at The Cube theater in Bristol UK, using only a single mic.

In addition to his own USA, UK & Europe touring, Brosseau sings and plays guitar with Becky Stark and John C. Reilly in John Reilly & Friends. The group summons the close harmonies and soul of earlier American music, performing at NYC's Lincoln Center, the Sasquatch Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, in Galway and Dublin Ireland, the UK and Australia.
Henry Dunkle
Venue Information:
200 41st Street S
Birmingham, AL, 35222