Not happy with life in south Texas, Robert Ellis dropped out of high school during his junior year and relocated to suburban Houston. He found an arts-friendly pocket where he was able to write songs and play clubs and eventually meet fellow musicians Will Van Horn and Geoffrey Muller. "Whiskey Wednesday" shows helped Ellis and his mates hone their skills. After two CD releases, country and bluegrass influences gave way to more pop, rock and experimental sounds. Jacquire King, who had produced for Kings of Leon and Norah Jones, found Ellis more than willing to work outside his comfort zone when he recorded 2014's The Lights from the Chemical Plant. Ellis was touring on his self-titled fourth release when he and The Perfect Strangers played The Garage in Rapid City this summer.