Paradoxically, Robert Ellis sings in a distinctively pleasant tone of voice, an earnest drawl that almost always conveys an impression of disarming sincerity that is frequently at odds with his subject matter. This young Houstonian tends to write songs in which his first-person romantic protagonists don’t come across particularly well, and that definitely goes for his eponymously titled fourth album “Robert Ellis” (New West Records) – a withering breakup record in which Ellis unashamedly confesses his misdeeds and flaws on a set of torch (as in torch-it-on-down) songs.
Ellis will sing it live Thursday night at Durham’s Motorco Music Hall. Courtney Hartman opens at 8 p.m., and tickets are $12-$15. See motorcomusic.com for details.
- Hillbenders are back to play their fantastic bluegrass version of The Who’s 1969 rock opera “Tommy,” Saturday at N.C. State’s Stewart Theatre.
- Sunday brings the great Tony Bennett, 90 years young, to Durham Performing Arts Center.
- X main man John Doe plays a solo show Monday at the Back Room of Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle, with The Old Ceremony’s Django Haskins opening. Dirty Dozen Brass Band will funk up Motorco on Tuesday.
- Thursday abounds: guitarist Tommy Emmanuel at Durham’s Carolina Theatre; South Carolina Americana duo Shovels & Rope at the Raleigh Ritz; Lowland Hum showing off their new album “Thin” at Durham’s Pinhook and Old Quarter at Raleigh’s Pour House for the weekly “Local Band Local Beer” show.