Robert Ellis and Ian ONeil (of Deer Tick)
Robert Ellis is the Texas Piano Man. Robert Ellis may have grown up south of Houston, but his provenance has never been especially easy to pin down. A few years back, when the buzz first started building around a hot new singer/songwriter from the Lone Star State, his long-haired look was more heavy metal than Texas troubadour. But a few months later, he was hardly recognizable: short hair, blue jeans, a beard and some wicked guitar chops.
Fast forward to 2019 and Robert Ellis had undergone yet another transformation. This time, he shed the traditional T-shirt and jeans favored by singer/songwriters, and dons attire thats a whole lot more slick and formal. He also rebranded himself as the Texas Piano Man.
This, ironically, is my casual attire, Ellis says of the black-outfit-and-bolo-tie look he wore during his visit to the Texas Standard studios. Normally, when I go on stage, I have the full-white tuxedo that you can see on the record cover. And I wear a white hat. But you know, thats show business.
Ellis says he came to the realization that the persona he presents to the public also affects how fans perceive his music.
I definitely want it to feel like someone is getting something special that was really thought out, he says. And I think that changes the way you hear the music.
But Ellis sound on his fourth album, Texas Piano Man, doesnt necessarily match the serious duds. Its a sensitive, sincere sound, but Ellis says he also wants to inflect his work with humor.
Im starting to feel a real need for levity in the things that I do, Ellis says. Theres a real need for humor, and theres a real need to just not take things so seriously. And thats just to get through the day."
On stage, Ellis says the persona goes deeper than the fancy clothes. He says he wants to project confidence, with no anxiety, and a great sense of humor. He aspires to embody his conception of the piano man.
I feel like theres this really interesting cross section between what people fancy themselves to be as a Texan the idea that were these wild, rogue, brazen, individual people and sort of the classic archetype of the piano man, Ellis says.
Union Station Brewery (View)
36 Exchange Terrace
Providence, RI 02903
|Minimum Age: 21|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|