We’d love an opening paragraph for your Tone Deaf Spotlight. Introduce yourself… 

Hey there, I’m Robert. Nice to meet you. I’m originally from Texas and I’m in your fine country playing shows with Mr. Justin Townes Earle. Thanks for having me. 

This is your first tour of Australia, how has it been so far?

It’s been fantastic. Justin Townes Earle is a pleasure to work with and all you Aussies have been great!

Is there anything you’re hoping to see or do while you’re here? 

I hope I get some time to go to some beautiful beaches. We talked about pulling over and swimming on one of our drives up the coast. I’m also going to try and drink as much Aussie beer as possible and eat some Kangaroo.

Your album Photographs has just been released here, can you tell us a bit about the concept…

The record is split into two sides. The A side is sort of dark folk music and the B side is meant to be a tribute to all my classic country heroes. The overall listening experience is supposed to have a certain arc to it based around the vinyl experience.

What’s your earliest memory of performing and who inspired you to start?

I think the first time I performed was probably in church. My mother was a piano player and taught me from a young age. She played stuff like Debussy in the room next to mine from the time I was a baby.

What and where was the first gig you went to?

I think I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers with my step-father when I was around 12. It was a great concert!

‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?

I got a lot of inspiration from my mother’s taste in music. When I was a little kid she gave me a Duke Ellington tape that I wore out.

How much of your environment influences your songwriting?

I’d say a lot. When i’m on the road I have a much different work flow than when I’m at home in Nashville. I probably also have a lot of different emotional content to draw from when I’m out here. Being away from my wife and friends can be strenuous at times and really liberating at others. It’s a bit of an emotional roller-coaster.

Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?

I wish I could do a record with Paul Simon. His songwriting and production is just incredible.

What is your music the best soundtrack for?

Sex? Driving? Sex while driving?  I’m not sure how to answer than one.

Are there any plans to release new music shortly?

Hopefully I’ll start recording when I get back to Nashville. I have enough songs written for a new album I just need some free time to work on it.

Do you think we will be able to see you in Australia again soon?

Definitely. You guys have been an absolute pleasure. I hope I get to come back a couple times a year.

The Australian edition of Photographs is out now through New West/IndoChine/WMA. Robert Ellis is currently on tour with Justin Towns Earle, see below for dates.


06/02/13 Coogee, NSW Coogee Diggers
09/02/13 Milton, NSW Milton Theatre
10/02/13 Sydney, NSW Annandale Hotel
13/02/13 Newcastle, NSW Lizottes Newcastle
15/02/13 Tamworth, NSW Capitol Theatre Tamworth
16/02/13 Lismore, NSW Star Court Theatre
17/02/13 Byron Bay, NSW Byron Bay Community Centre