Best Of

Best Country Artist

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Before he sings a note, Robert Ellis has you hooked. A native Texan who looks every bit the guitar-strumming country-music heartthrob he is, Ellis set country-purist hearts ablaze in 2011 with his debut release, Photographs, which was a deep and knowing nod to the genre’s storytelling greats, like George Jones and Willie Nelson. His latest effort, 2014’s The Lights of the Chemical Plant, was a left turn that infused some steadfastly prog guitar that sounded more like “Roundabout”-era Yes than anything Nashville, and the result was something fans had never heard before. Inspired by his native Lake Jackson (a refinery-heavy town just outside Houston) and infidelity, Plant is a hopeful sign of what Ellis has in store, especially now that he’s in a New York state of mind. He moved to Brooklyn this past summer and is on, he says, quite a writing tear. Most nights he can be found at Skinny Dennis in Williamsburg teaching girls how to properly two-step, and when he’s not there, he’s out in the city, writing new songs when inspiration strikes, as it often does with all the stimulus New York has to offer.

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