Robert Ellis & Harrison Hudson at the Basement: One glance at Robert Ellis in his publicity shots and it’s easy to assume that this is a guy who spends nights in his Texas home spinning old Merle Haggard and George Jones records, and, to some degree, that’s probably true. What you might not immediately get is that he’s also just as likely to be listening to Paul Simon, creating country tunes laced together by a strong sense of folk sensibility – even folk-pop, in the 60’s and 70’s sense of the word. To classify it simply as “country-folk” is a little too simplistic – country and folk have always found harmony when they met, at least in the old days before the former favored storytelling about love lost and the lore of hard living over beer and pickup trucks. His record, Photographs, breaks it down in a side-A-and-side-B-terms, one sounding more distinctly country and the other folk. But every moment is a balance of both, which is what makes Ellis so special – in addition to the fact that this is a serious virtuoso, equally valuing instrumentals and musicianship in his songs, even when it’s subtle.
Opening for Ellis is Harrison Hudson, a local rock n’ roller who writes tunes that might make the Strokes a little jealous in their ability to weave gritty swagger into their retro roots. He’s on at 9 p.m. sharp, so arrive in time to catch his set. Doors are at 8 p.m.
– Over the river, you can find Kansas City’s Scratch Track, playing a house show in East Nashville. Address and details to come, and the band’s Facebook page says “if you’re interested in coming to this show in nashville RSVP to our friend who is hosting the show Jason LeVasseur @ firstname.lastname@example.org.” The band has opened for likes of Zac Brown Band, Rehab, Los Lonely Boys, Erykah Badu, Jurassic 5, Jars of Clay, The Roots and O.A.R., and their music is about as diverse as that roster, which blends hip hop, folk, funk, rock and Motown soul.
– Also tonight: the preview party for East Nashville Underground at High Watt. Acts will include The Gills, The Future, Bear Cub, Brandon Jazz & His Armed Forces, Frances & The Foundation, Blackfoot Gypsies, The Black Shades and Kiernan McMullan, and a chance to pick up an East Nashville Underground wristband. Free.