Texas singer-songwriter Robert Ellis made a name for himself in Houston, with his self-released debut album, The Great Rearranger. His follow-up album, the broadly available Photographs, is an album of intimate confessionals and full-band country workouts. The opening tunes trace a songwriter with a heavy heart and a light vocal touch. Country honky-tonker Lefty Frizzell is mentioned by name and can be heard in Ellis’ vocal approach. “Cemetery” is the seven-minute standout, as love blooms amidst this macabre backdrop. “Friends Like Those” speaks with a hint of nostalgia for old friendships. The band fires up as the album progresses, providing a ‘50s Texas lonesome aura on “What’s In It for Me?,” “I’ll Never Give Up On You” and the devastating title track. The classic country sound, with pedal steel guitar and generally sparse arrangements, make for gripping pathos that are a rarity even among alt-country singers. Ellis doesn’t qualify as “alt” anything. He is a traditionalist in the best and strongest sense of the word.