Washed Out finally gets to wash in Houston

Ernest Greene of Washed Out performs at the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 15, 2014 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Photo: photo by Josh Brasted / WireImage, contributor / WireImage

Ernest Greene tries to get to the heart of the matter.

Greene, who performs under his chillwave / chamber-pop name Washed Out, is back on tour, including a stop at Warehouse Live in Houston on January 13. Other than a festival in Miami a few months ago, he hasn’t done a full-fledged Show Washed Out since 2018, while on the road to promote his 2017 album, “Mister Mellow”.

He was planning on touring again in 2020, shortly after releasing his latest album “Purple Noon” – but you all know what happened with that. “Of course, COVID-19 has entered the scene, which means the record has been delayed until August [of that year]”Greene, 39, born in Georgia, said over the phone from his home in Atlanta.” And we never played a concert to support this album until this tour. “

So after 3 and a half years, Greene is finally out, hitting stages across the country and performing the music on his (somewhat) new album. For “Noon”, he approached the old label Sub Pop, which released their first two albums. (“Mellow” was released by west coast label Stones Throw.)

And although the album takes its name from the 1960 film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” Greene will tell you that it was more influenced by the adaptation of “Ripley” by 1999 with Matt Damon. “You know, there’s all the suspense, sort of murder element in this plot,” he says. “But, if you take that off and just look at the pictures, it’s almost like visual stills. It’s like these incredibly romantic and incredibly luxurious settings. I was like, “OK, what would that look like and what would it look like?” and sort of went from there.

Much like the main character, Greene takes on the role of a heartbreaking bon vivant in “Noon.” (It also gives off the vibe on the album cover – standing atop a balcony ledge, overlooking the ocean – which his wife Blair filmed while on vacation in Greece.) His synth ballads -pop are reminiscent of the romantic sophistries of the new wave. – pop crooners such as Bryan Ferry, Philip Oakey (The Human League) and Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) used to come back in the 80s.

“They are great references,” he says. “It was something that really interested me. Like Bryan Ferry, for example, I think about those really powerful ballads, you know, that are slightly melodramatic but sound so rich. And that was really a starting point.

With the way Greene does falsetto backing vocals on the songs – vocals that make him sound like the iconic singer Sade (who was also an influence on “Noon”) – it almost seems like Greene is auditioning to produce her and her. group, the next album. “Please, if you have any contacts to suggest songs to them, that would be amazing,” he laughs.

Washed out

When: 8:30 p.m. Jan. 13

Or: Warehouse Live, 813 Saint Emanuel St.

Details: $ 25; 713-225-5483; entrepôtlive.com.

Until that dream comes true, he will be on this tour, doing shows with a very small band – a multi-instrumentalist and a drummer. And while he has worked to create a live show that takes place “in the safest and most careful way possible”, he hopes that every venue he performs in will always have strong COVID-19 security protocols. in place.

But whether you choose to hear it live or safely in your home, Greene says he’ll always have a musical journey ready for his listeners. “I’m kind of interested in world building and sound painting of an image for the listener,” he says. “You know, each of my records is different. And I hope if you’re in the mood to put your imagination and yourself on a French villa or a Greek villa or something like that, I think ‘Purple Noon’ may be the record for you.

Craig Lindsey is a Houston-based writer.

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