The fourth self titled album from Texan native Robert Ellis is his most personal and poignant to date.

It traverses the difficult terrain of a painful relationship breakdown exposing an array of human frailties in the process. With remarkable candour he delves into the debris left behind and what he leaves us with is an album that resonates with a deeper understanding of the complexities of life and love.

Leaving the country back roads of Nashville further behind him, Ellis draws more on the confessional tones of artists like James Taylor, Paul Simon and Neil Young during his early 1970’s era.

The musical statement he carves is more grandiose and eloquent than on his previous albums, his growth as an artist continues unabated. The opening salvo Perfect Strangers harks back to the early days of Paul Simon’s solo career, a wry dissection of what it means to be open and unafraid of the consequences.

“Perfect Strangers, because everything look better in low lighting, Perfect Strangers they don’t know all of my mistakes the wounds from every heartbreak I have hiding.”

California sounds like it could have easily found itself on a Steely Dan album during their heyday, it’s a song that poses the challenge of closing one door and hoping that another one might open.

Drivin is steeped more in the halls of Nashville with its dexterous picking and warm pedal steel. Far from being about escape Drivin is more about being trapped both within the confines of a small town and the binds of a disintegrating relationship.

The opening refrains of The High Road make you think you are listening to the soundtrack of a spaghetti western. It’s a snapshot of life on the road under the unrelenting glare of the stage lights – to some it’s a glamorous life, but to many it’s a road that is winding and not always smooth.

Elephant has us peaking inside the crumbling facade of a doomed relationship. The rules of engagement are questioned, the roller coaster of emotions, the irrationality and the finality.

“Sometimes I’m blinded by emotions, and I can’t see. When we fell in love you belonged to no-one, why would I chain or shackle you to my jealousy? The human heart it’s large beyond compare, only a fool would be so cruel as not to share.  I want to see her shining bright not locked up is some cage in the dead of night.”

What lifts this album above others is Ellis’ ability to articulate in searing detail the fears and emotions that we would often prefer to keep hidden. Every detail from word to music is intricate, intimate and aching and that makes for something that will resonate and last.

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