Robert Ellis Yesterday’s News
Release Date: May 19, 2023
Label: Niles City
Recorded live to tape in just two days, Robert Ellis’ exquisite new album Yesterday’s News is as stripped-down as it gets, with the celebrated songwriter’s delicate, reedy tenor accompanied by only nylon string guitar, upright bass, and the occasional piece of handheld percussion.
The arrangements on Robert Ellis' Yesterday's News are harmonically sophisticated here, drawing on the open tunings and intricate fingerpicking of English songwriters like Nick Drake or Richard Thompson, and his performances are similarly subtle and nuanced, tapping into the bittersweet longing of Chet Baker and the playful poignancy of Bill Evans and Jim Hall.
While that may seem surprising coming off 2019’s raucous Texas Piano Man, subverting expectations is nothing new for Ellis. Born and raised outside Houston, he gained early acclaim for his piercing introspection and absorbing narratives, and over the course of five solo albums, he’s flirted with everything from Paul Simon and John Prine to Elton John and Joni Mitchell in a series of sonic and visual transformations.
Produced by Robert Ellis and Josh Block (Leon Bridges, CAAMP), Yesterday’s News marks Ellis’s debut album For Niles City Records, an outgrowth of the famed Niles City Sound he and longtime collaborator Josh Block run in Fort Worth, TX.