Robert Ellis' New Album Now Streaming Via NPR Music's "First Listen"

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis

Photo by David McClister

Robert Ellis‘ highly anticipated full-length album, The Lights From The Chemical Plant, declared by Esquire as “essential listening” has been selected by NPR Music for a coveted “First Listen” premiere two weeks ahead of its February 11release on New West Records. The record, which has been receiving worldwide acclaim, was produced by Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones) at Eric Masse’s Casino studio in East Nashville, and was recently described byNPR as “collection of vignettes about love, pain and self-deception,” adding it “will resonate with anyone who’s run toward a dream, or crawled away from one.” Ellis has also recently announced his first-ever North American headlining tour as well as dates supporting Jason Isbell. The complete list of tour dates is below.

Ellis just returned from Europe where the album is getting an equally great reaction and has wowed audiences from England to France. While in Paris he stopped in to radio station Oüi FM to perform the album’s first single “Only Lies” and Bruce Springsteen’s classic “I’m On Fire.” Check out the performance of “Only Lies” here and “I’m On Fire” here.

Here in the U.S., momentum is quickly building at both radio and press with early support at radio from Austin’s KGSR and KUTXBoston’s WUMB, Dallas’ KHYIand WXPN in Philadelphia who selected first single “Only Lies” as their “Gotta Hear Song of the Week” last week and called it “one of the best songs of year so far.” On the press front, NPR’s Ann Powers highlighted the album in her Under-The-Radar Albums Preview For 2014 exclaiming: “It’s always thrilling to see a promising young artist take a leap and land brilliantly” while CMT Edge featured it in as one of 10 albums they are most excited about this year. Texas Monthlyexpressed their excitement with a glowing two-page profile on the Texas-bred, Nashville-based musician that said The Lights From The Chemical Plant is “a record that hails the arrival of Texas’s next great singer-songwriter.”

Ellis is the kind of songwriter who only comes along once in a great while. With his first two albums, a promise was made. With this new record, that promise has been delivered and fully realized. The music, like the artist, refuses to accept the confines of a box, and burns white-hot from the inside out. But what seems even more striking about this record, this musician, even at a first glance, is that feeling of unyielding authenticity. With every remarkable cut, with every twist and turn, Ellis’s life and his experience, shine through — His days growing up in a small industrial town in Texas, his move to Houston, and now as a 25-year-old man, when not on the road performing around the world, living with his wife in Nashville.

The Lights From The Chemical Plant has a way of grabbing you by the hand and pulling you in so that it can play with your soul. Alive with memories and innovation, you become absorbed in the world Ellis paints with his smoky lyrics, his hypnotic voice and his masterful work on the guitar. Ellis called on several friends – in addition to his stellar band: Will Van HornGeoffrey MullerKelly Doyle and Josh Block – to lend their talents to the record, including Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith, who co-wrote one song, Deer Tick’s Rob Crowell, Nashville-based musician Skyler Wilson as well as notable songwriter and musician Jim Lauderdale, who lends his plaintive vocals to one of the tracks.

Ellis’ growth as a man and musician is clear on The Lights From The Chemical Plant. And while some may call it a musical departure from his past, The Houston Chronicle best explains: “Ellis doesn’t place limitations on his music. Any perceived departure is just part of an ongoing creative journey.”

Robert Ellis complete tour dates:

05 – Iowa City, IA – Englert Presents at The Mill
06 – Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theater *
07 – Madison, WI – The Barrymore *
08 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue *
09 – St. Louis, MO – Plush *
10 – St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway *
12 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
13 – Toronto, ONT – Drake Hotel
14 – Ithaca, NY – The Haunt
15 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre
16 – Boston, MA – Great Scott
18 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge (early)
19 – Washington, DC – The Hamilton
20 – York, PA – Sign of the Wagon
21 – Ardmore, PA – Ardmore Music Hall
22 – Winston Salem, NC – Ziggy’s Rock House Tavern
25 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle Back Room
26 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
27 – Athens, GA – Normaltown Hall
28 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle

01 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
03 – Nashville, TV – The Basement
06 – Birmingham, AL – The Bottletree Café
07 – Florence, AL – 116 Mobile St.
08 – Waverly, AL – Standard Deluxe
09 – Baton Rouge, LA – Mud & Water
10 – Mobile, AL – Callaghan’s
18 – Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall 1884 Lounge #
20 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall #
22 – Denver, CO – Lost Lake #
23 – Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room #
25 – Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern #
26 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios #
28 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel #
29 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo #
30 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar #

02 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues – Cambridge Room #
03 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live #
04 – Austin, TX – Emo’s #
05 – Knoxville, TN – Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival

* = Supporting Jason Isbell
# = co-headline with Wild Child