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.

***.5



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  

READ MORE
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
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
Ben Kweller hits the Continental Club stage, Threadgill's auctions some history, and more

Aug. 7, 2020

Song Premiere: Selena Rosanbalm Debuts Solo On “Patriot”
Song Premiere: Selena Rosanbalm Debuts Solo On “Patriot”
Rosie & the Ramblers lead gets political

Aug. 4, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Robert Ellis

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
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

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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