Nicole Atkins, Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis: The New York Times recently proclaimed that Houston, Texas native Robert Ellis sounds "equally inspired by Jackson Browne and George Jones." Not a bad reference point for an artist only twenty-two years old. Ellis cut his teeth performing the songs of similar luminaries around town, most notably at the neighborhood beacon, Fitzgerald's. His "Whiskey Wednesdays" at that club are regularly packed with punkish newcomers and graying locals sharing a mutual interest in artists ranging from Ray Price to Buck Owens to the Rolling Stones. Ellis has songwriting ability equal to his encyclopedic knowledge of these greats and it shines on his upcoming New West Records debut, Photographs, due this July. The young songwriter's second release is an impressive and diverse concept album split between five breathtaking folk songs and five soon-to-be country standards. Listening to Photographs, one finds it difficult to pigeonhole Robert Ellis. It's even harder to remember that he's barely just begun.