There’s an old soul living in the youthful troubadour Robert Ellis, and while he’s already proven his worth with his guitarwork on country, pop, and jazz-influenced albums, here he challenges the status quo of his Texas home with an record of piano tunes.
Though it’s difficult not to envision Elton John when peering at Ellis in his white tuxedo on the cover, there’s also some Elliott Smith in his arsenal, or at least a similar amount of forthrightness across all 11 tunes.
While the album starts out with warm, soulful piano balladry, it’s not long until the playful pop of “Nobody Smokes Anymore” somehow makes a humorous and valid point for lighting up, and the lush, intricate “Let Me In” illustrates a broad amount of talent that’s gritty and timeless. Deeper cuts like “Lullaby” are indeed soft and recruit classical influences, as Ellis hits some pretty high notes, and the dramatic, eclectic “He Made Me Do It” only further solidifies this Texan as one of the most versatile artists today.
Ellis appears to not be bound by any limitations, as his impressive catalog of albums consistently shows, and Texas Piano Man is another essential installment. And, really, how could we not love an album with the opening line ‘I’m Fucking Crazy’?