Robert Ellis

Robert Ellis

John Francis, Ron Gallo

Fri, February 21, 2014

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Ardmore Music Hall

Ardmore, PA

$10 Advance / $13 Day Of Show

Tickets Available at the Door

This event is 21 and over

$10 Advance General Admission / $13 Day Of Show General Admission

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
“I want this record to be more about the Paul Simons and the Randy Newmans and the other half of my upbringing,
which is very much rooted in pop.” – Ellis recently told Rolling Stone
Robert Ellis is the kind of songwriter who only comes along once in a great while. With his first two albums, a promise was made. With his new record, The Lights from the Chemical Plant, that promise has been delivered and fully realized. The music, like the artist, refuses to accept the confines of a box, and burns white-hot from the inside out. But what seems even more striking about this record, this musician, even at a first glance, is that feeling of unyielding authenticity.
With every remarkable cut, with every twist and turn, Robert’s life and his experience, shine through. His days growing up in a small industrial town in Texas, his move to Houston, and now as a 24-year-old man, when not on the road performing around the world, living with his wife in Nashville.
The Lights from the Chemical Plant, produced with great care and precision by Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones), and recorded at Eric Masse’s Casino studio in East Nashville for New West Records, is an album that has a way of grabbing you by the hand and pulling you in so that it can play with your soul. Alive with memories and innovation, you become absorbed in the world Robert paints with his smoky lyrics, his hypnotic voice, and his masterful work on the guitar. But then something happens. Something new. Something special. And it begins with the very song for which the album is named, “Chemical Plant.” You realize that Robert’s building layer upon layer of different sounds from different places and different times. A synthesis of sounds and textures that pick you up and pull you in even deeper.
R&B, bossa nova, fusion, free jazz – from the rousing beat of “Good Intentions” to the floor stomping bluegrass anthem “Sing Along,” you’ve bought your ticket and you’re in for the ride. And so it goes, the floodgates standing wide open. The quiet, unexpected feel of a jazz guitar in perfect union with a steel guitar in the ballad, “Steady as the Rising Sun.” And so it goes. The soulful wobble of a saxophone in “Bottle of Wine,” and the dreamy pedal steel that draws you into “TV Song.” These are songs about love gained, about love lost, about growing up in a place where nobody stands too tall for fear of being knocked down (“Sing Along”). These are songs about lives broken, lives healed, and moving on.
As if that weren’t enough, Robert gives us his interpretation of Paul Simon’s classic, “Still Crazy After All These Years,” which is pure elegance, cut against the song “Only Lies” with its quiet pulse, its dusky blue lyrics, and the story of a man trying to help a friend who refuses to believe that her husband is cheating on her…
Only lies can comfort you,
Only lies will see you through.
Just because a thing’s convenient,
That doesn’t make it true.
Only lies can comfort you.
Ellis’ growth as a man and musician is clear on The Lights From The Chemical Plant. And while some may call it a musical departure from his past, The Houston Chronicle best explains: “Ellis doesn’t place limitations on his music. Any perceived departure is just part of an ongoing creative journey.”
– Robert Ellis, not the musician, but the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller, City of Fire.
John Francis
John Francis
At 12, John Francis started writing, recording, and performing. Any stage would do, but mostly, Francis cut his teeth in the church, like many great performers. Son of ministers and musicians, Francis grew up with folk, rock, and gospel music at the center of his life. At 18, he enrolled as a Literature and World Religions major at Messiah College near Harrisburg, PA. There he immersed himself in the classics of poetry and prose, honing his craft as a songwriter. During these years, John played guitar for Gospel band on Sunday mornings. After graduating, Francis traveled to Ireland where the musical traditions of his family’s homeland added more fuel to the fire.

While living in Philadelphia, Francis released the critically acclaimed “Strong Wine & Spirits”. With the single “Heavy, Heavy Love”, the record garnered extensive radio play in the North East. Drawing on the deep waters of Rock n roll, Folk, Country, and Gospel music, Francis conjures the spirits of his eloquent brand of songwriting, and passionate live shows. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, “Artful..brooding…intense.”

Francis was honored by ASCAP as the recipient two national lyricist awards. The prestigious Sammy Cahn Lyricist Award, for his song ”Love Came to Me Dressed in Red”. (Previous winners include John Mayer and Josh Ritter.) And recently he received the Jay Gorney Award for socially conscious lyrics for his poignant song, “Who?”

Francis has played in some of the most renown listening rooms and theaters in the U.S., Ireland, UK, Switzerland, and Germany. He has played upon invitation for the United Nations in New York. In August of 2011, Francis performed for the inaugural “Johnny Cash Music Festival” in Jonesboro, Arkansas at the ASU Arena, alongside Kris Kristofferson, George Jones, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, and Tommy Cash.

He has also shared the stage with Ray Lamontagne, Jeff Tweedy, Amos Lee, Buffy Sainte-Marie, M.Ward, Josh Ritter, Suzanne Vega, Rachael Yamagata, Rickie Lee Jones, Andrew Bird, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Peggy Seeger, Tom Paxton, the Hooters, and festivals with Steve Earle, Judy Collins, Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainwright, Mavis Staples, and Arlo Guthrie.

John Francis now makes his home (when not touring 200+ days per year) in Music City…Nashville, Tennessee. In Nashville, he recorded his newest release ‘the Better Angels’ in the Cash Cabin Studio. Produced by John Carter Cash in the fabled home studio of his parents Johnny and June.

‘The Better Angels’ was released Nov.9, 2010 through the Dualtone Music Group. It was “Most Added” to AMA Radio 3 weeks running, and climbed to #18 on the Americana Charts. Featuring legendary musicians: Kenny Vaughan (Lucinda Williams, Marty Stuart), Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco), Michael Rhodes (Sheryl Crowe, J.J. Cale), Robbie Turner (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson) and featuring Rachael Yamagata with a vocal appearance, ‘the Better Angels’ is a musical achievement. The record features the single ”Johnny Cash on the Radio” and the two songs for which Francis received national songwriting awards.

Like his songs, Francis is rooted in the real, vulnerable, and gritty stories of human experiences, his own and those he encounters. And as he tours and travels, he’s collected stories of others, and built his own story on that great “ribbon of highway”.

Inside the soaring vibrato-laden tenor and the catchy rock / folk melodies, you can feel the pain, the redemption, the sorrow, and the transcendence in the voice of a young man who is, as Shane Claiborne puts its, “…a poet and a troubadour; a provocateur of dreams and an instigator of movements. Most of all, he is a friend. He is a friend of mine, but he is also a friend of many down-and-out people the world has stepped on, pushed aside, and tried to ignore. His voice becomes much bigger than his own, and his stories tell the stories of injustice and freedom that are thousands of years old. Listen, and be inspired to do something daring with your life.”
Ron Gallo
Ron Gallo
"Ron Gallo is a Jersey-born, Kentucky-raised, Philly-residing, relentlessly driven, soulful goofball. He has been traveling the country, playing music both solo and with his rock n' roll band, Toy Soldiers since he graduated from college in 2010 with a degree in "Magic, Metaphysical Sciences and Communications," minoring in "Perpetual Creative Writing". His mantra goes, "A song a day keeps the madness away" and he has embraced that through his often lighthearted and equally powerful songs of love, self and social commentary and tall tales. He found his singing voice -- described as, "unique and powerful… 'otherworldly'" -- in a basement in 2007 while recording the first vocal take for "Throw Me Down", an unfettered blues song that birthed the band and Gallo's pursuit. He is currently working on his first solo album in Philadelphia with producer, fellow musician & good friend Reed Kendall, to be released in 2014."
-K. Shay
Venue Information:
The Ardmore Music Hall
23 East Lancaster Ave
Ardmore, PA, 19003
http://www.ardmoremusic.com