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Interview: Robert Ellis

Submitted by admin on May 4, 2009 – 11:05 amNo Comment
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By Omar Afra

Robert Ellis is one of those rare confluences of amazing songwriting coupled with masterful musicianship. I know, I am already blowing smoke up this kids ass. But deservedly so. Ellis writes songs you remember, melodies that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, and does it all with shred-tastic guitar playing. His new album Rearranger is littered with Americana love songs and haunting odes to Houston. More importantly, he is the sexiest local musician in town. With long flowing hair, bedroom eyes, and chiseled jaw, Ellis is a heartbreaker. If I only had a vagina.

Tell me about your earliest musical memories.

My mom is a Piano teacher. She taught out of the house, and my room was right next to her office for quite some time. I remember her playing Debussy’s Arabesque vividly, and its still of on my favorite pieces. Also, growing up, my grandparents used to take me to bluegrass festivals. That music still has a very dear place in my heart. It reminds me of my grandparents and of my Uncle, who plays Dobro and is also an excellent flat picker and singer.

You got chops. Tell us about your woodshedding routine.

I practice daily and learn a lot from my friends and from the bands I play with. I also spend a good amount of time listening to old recordings and trying to emulate my favorite musicians. (Doc Watson, Jimmie Rodgers, John Hurt, David Rawlings and Gillian Welch)

You’re from Clute, Texas. Do you think developing your song craft in a vacuum outside of scenes and trends has had a large part in your development? Please elaborate.

Yes. There is very little to do in the Clute/Lake Jackson area other than looking for ways to get out. Don’t be fooled, scenes and trends tend to trickle down into that area just about as soon as they are not cool anymore. But there is definitely less of an influence than there would be here.

Tell us about recording this new album and where content and inspiration stemmed from.

Many of the songs on this record are about splitting up with my ex over a year ago, that’s when I began recording. That’s where the breakup songs come from. Also my current girlfriend, Destiny was a big inspiration. Many of the song are about finding new love with her. Other songs are about my childhood, and family, friends and fond memories I have of them. I recorded in Austin with my friend Shawn Jones (The Lovely Sparrows). Between him and my friend Jason cooper I had a lot of support and constructive feedback.

Who are some of your favorite local acts?

Listen Listen! Buxton, Sideshow Tramps, Airon Paul Dugas, Chase Hamblin. Those are the ones I listen to.

What are you reading?

I have not been reading much lately. The last thing I read was A Brief History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

Springsteen or Dylan?

The Boss Forever! I’m not a Dylan fan.

You are obscenely sexy. In last issue, we explained how Fat Tony is a close 2nd to you being the sexiest musician in town. What can he do to improve his running?

I saw Fat Tony perform last week. I think someone may have us confused.

Robert Ellis has his CD Release May 15th at Mango’s..

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