Born and raised in Houston, Texas, a town steeped in classic country music and the culture that surrounds it, Robert Ellis has been performing since his teens. Now at the ripe old age of 27, the singer/songwriter and guitarist can look back at a career that already spans over a decade, starting out in 2005 under the moniker Eyes Like Lions. In many ways, Ellis’ musical journey is a classic tale of growth, of experimentation, of creating and dismantling the various identities that we all create and dismantle as we mature.
But one thing is clear: Ellis is better now than he’s ever been. His latest album, the boldly eponymous Robert Ellis, is a clear indication of a young musician coming fully into his own, finding a solid sense of identity and basking within it, allowing for all the discordant parts of himself to float and settle. The self-produced record is number four for Ellis, one that critics have called “his finest work to date.” With the help of his trusty lead guitarist, Kelly Doyle, who has been recording with Ellis since 2011’s breakout LP Photographs, and a variety of other musical collaborators, the album incorporates Ellis’s signature country-folk sound with a wide variety of instrumental experimentation, from MIDI keyboards and ambient noise to synths and string sections.