Robert Ellis Returns to Santa Barbara

Huston based singer-songwriter Robert Ellis returns to Santa Barbara for an intimate performance at Velvet Jones.  One man, his guitar and a whole lot of good songs.  I can still clearly remember the first time I saw Robert Ellis perform here in the 805.  It was nearly seven years ago to the day and I had won tickets off the radio at KCSB, our local college radio station out at UCSB.  The show was at Soho Restaurant and Music Club, and for a band called The Old 97’s.  It was my 30th birthday that night and I was excited to hear some fresh, new and unfamiliar music.

Robert Ellis was the opener that night and for many other shows along that leg of The Old 97’s tour.  Again, one man, his guitar and a whole lot of good songs.  I was mesmerized by his fingerpicking styling on guitar and the songs he belted out on that lonely stage that night.    He was touring in support of his album “Photographs” (2011), which features a full band.  I had picked up a copy on vinyl that night and again was blown away when I got home and had the chance to listen to it.

Robert Ellis has since returned to Santa Barbara to play a show at the Lobero Theatre in support of Old Crow Medicine Show.  I had the opportunity to talk with him, his most recent visit to the 805 area, after his solo show at Velvet Jones and again the next night in San Luis Obispo when he opened up for Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Fremont Theatre.  What a difference in shows for Mr. Ellis, and I don’t mean performance wise.  The Velvet Jones show on Tuesday, August 14th was for a crowd of a few dozen persons.  The very next night in San Luis Obispo there were almost 800 people in attendance.  Robert had said he enjoys every chance he can get to come to Santa Barbara and that he asked his management to book him a gig here before his tour with Rodrigo y Gabriela tour started.  Robert also said he would be hitting the beach while he was here and trying a taste at some tri-tip, as he would be spending a little time in Santa Maria on his visit.

The most recent release from Robert Ellis is a self-titled album out on New West Records.  His other releases include “The Lights from the Chemical Plant” (2014) and “Dear John” (2017) a collaboration with Courtney Hartman and a tribute to musician/composer John Hartford.

Folk Alley Sessions at 30A: Robert Ellis

Premiere: Courtney Hartman & Robert Ellis – “Old Time River Man”