Robert Ellis shares dreamy new single “Close Your Eyes” and announces EU tour in October29-03-2023
Texas-based singer/songwriter Robert Ellis released today his new single “Close Your Eyes” off his forthcoming album Yesterday’s News (out May 19th through his label Niles City Records). Initially written as a tender lullaby for his son that could just as easily be sung into the mirror, “Close Your Eyes” is cathartic and dreamy, with the accompanying video providing a heartwarming peek into Ellis’ family life.
Ellis also announced today a new batch of select European tour dates this fall (see below), which includes multiple stops in the Netherlands and Belgium. The new tour dates follow a whirlwind of shows with Courtney Marie Andrews throughout the UK and at SXSW this month, including a performance at Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion and a showcase at Mohawk that was highlighted by Rolling Stone for the “tenderness of his melodies and nimble nylon string fingerpicking rang sweet and true.”
An ever evolving, creatively restless renaissance man, Ellis is redefining himself yet again with Yesterday’s News, this time on his own, in far more honest terms. Coming off his raucous 2019 album Texas Piano Man, Ellis is changing course and embracing a raw minimalist approach that prizes patience and restraint above all else. Recorded live to tape in just two days, it’s as stripped-down as it gets, with his delicate, reedy tenor accompanied only by nylon string guitar, upright bass, and the occasional piece of handheld percussion. The arrangements are harmonically sophisticated, drawing on the open tunings and intricate fingerpicking of English songwriters like Nick Drake or Richard Thompson. Ellis’s performances are similarly subtle and nuanced, tapping into the bittersweet longing of Chet Baker and the playful poignancy of Bill Evans and Jim Hall. What emerges is a record that’s not quite folk and not quite jazz, a series of intimate, unhurried meditations on growth and maturity, hope and regret, desire and contentment, all delivered by an artist learning to let go and get quiet, to slow down and appreciate the tiny little miracles that make life worth living.
Subverting expectations is nothing new for the celebrated songwriter and producer. Over the course of five solo albums, Ellis has flirted with everything from Paul Simon and John Prine to Elton John and Joni Mitchell, zigging whenever he was expected to zag in a series of sonic and visual transformations that ran the gamut from Redneck Steely Dan to Lone Star Liberace. NPR has hailed his “musical daring and impeccable songcraft,” while Rolling Stone praised his “sharp eye for storytelling,” and The New York Times lauded his writing as an emotional “gut punch".