Robert Ellis

Texas Piano Man (New West)

Texas Platters

Robert Ellis begins his fifth album with a simple warning: "I'm fucking crazy, you know that it's true." Crooning in his nasally tenor atop a soft bed of keys in latest incarnation Texas Piano Man, Ellis remains brilliantly elusive, torquing songs in unexpected directions. The now-local songwriter wings tight piano-pop melodies into a shredder, Leon Russell meets Harry Nilsson with a touch of Father John Misty's sadistic sarcasm inviting you along for the ride. Not that Ellis doesn't sling sincerity, but he swivels between jarringly biting ("Passive Aggressive," "Fucking Crazy," "There You Are"), playfully upbeat ("Nobody Smokes Anymore," "Topo Chico"), and quirky sentimentality ("When You're Away," "Let Me In"). Robert Ellis could craft perfect pop and country earworms and polished ballads, but where's the fun in that? Don't say he didn't warn you.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Robert Ellis
Force of Circumstance
Force of Circumstance
Houston's Robert Ellis takes Americana surreal

Doug Freeman, June 3, 2016

SXSW 2014 Records
Robert Ellis
The Lights from the Chemical Plant (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, March 14, 2014

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Doug Freeman
Review: Heartless Bastards <i>A Beautiful Life</i>
Heartless Bastards A Beautiful Life
A Beautiful Life (Record Review)

Sept. 17, 2021

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Chris Conde and Third Root, Bully, Robert Ellis, Lil Baby and Lil Durk, Molly Burch, and Pulkingham Layne

Sept. 17, 2021


Robert Ellis

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle