On the Beat

Rock Picks: Robert Ellis sings withering breakup tunes at Motorco

Robert Ellis will perform at Durham’s Motorco Music Hall on Thursday.
Robert Ellis will perform at Durham’s Motorco Music Hall on Thursday. Dusdin Condren

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.

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