Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman woo The Altamont Theatre

Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman woo The Altamont Theatre image

The floor of The Altamont Theatre on Thursday evening was filled with people of all ages who were excited to see Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman do their thing. The two musicians are currently on tour together and fortunately made a stop here in Asheville to share their talents. The overall vibe before showtime was laid back, but when Hartman walked up to the stage and the lights dimmed that all changed. 

Hartman introduced herself and then it was music from there on out. Her stage presence is hypnotizing, with her voice and guitar interacting with one another in the most beautiful of ways. In between songs she professed her love of Asheville and talked about how she's always on the move with her part in Della Mae. Halfway through her set she even got some friends who were in the crowd to hop up on stage and play a song with her. 

Thanks to Hartman's friends, a fiddle and a banjo were now up on stage playing right along with the already sweet sounding acoustic guitar. The venue went from relaxed acoustic show to straight up hoedown in a matter of seconds. After heavy applause from the crowd, Hartman's friends left the stage and she played a couple more tunes on her own. 

When Hartman's set was over she thanked the crowd and venue profusely before leaving the stage. The house lights went up, and so did a bunch of people in the crowd to get another drink before Ellis took the stage. The time between Hartman leaving and Ellis arriving didn't feel long at all. Besides, who even cares about time when there's a sparkling flashy suit right in the middle of the stage?

With enough rhinestones to light up a small town, Robert Ellis' suit was as magical as the music he was about to play. NASA themed and covered with astronauts and stars, Ellis was clearly not afraid to be the literal star of the show. A buzzing audio cable plagued the first song of his set, an issue that was quickly taken care of after trying out different cables. “There I fixed it,” joked Ellis as he tried a cord that made the buzzing sound even worse before it got better.

The crowd didn't mind the slight audio hiccup and laughed right along with Ellis—then the real fun began. Filling the whole room with his voice and stunning guitar skills, Ellis made sure everyone in The Altamont Theatre was aware of his talents. Heartbreaking lyrics abound, Ellis told funny stories and made jokes in-between playing songs to give the attendees a healthy mix of emotions. 

“Just shout out requests, whatever you wanna hear. We have no plan for this!” quipped Ellis early on into his set. The fans didn't hesitate and yelled out some of their favorites that they wanted to hear. It's not often you go to a show like this where the musician and the crowd seem so attuned to one another, yet here it was most definitely happening! 

The applause at the end of the night signaled that Ellis' informal approach to the evening was much appreciated. As his immaculate suit slipped into the darkness that was backstage, one could only hope that the dry cleaners did their very best job to keep each rhinestone shining as bright as it did that night. Safe travels Mr. Ellis, until next time. 

Image Credits: 

All photos by Holden Mesk of Asheville Music Guide

Thursday, March 2, 2017
8:00 pm
$15 adv. / $18 d.o.s. / $20 VIP (guaranteed seating in 1st three rows!)