Elvis Perkins @ the Echo: Already Looks Like A Classic

This past Friday night I went to see Elvis Perkins with Emily, Cate and Bob. Recently, I found out about Perkins through Paste Magazine. Their review concluded with a statement that grabbed my attention. They said though this guy hasn’t been around long, and it may be too early to tell, the album feels like a classic. Hisdebut album “Ash Wednesday” has only been out a couple weeks and he’s making quite a stir with it.

I purchased the album directly after reading the review from Paste and I think they may have even understated just how good this guy really is. I’ve been hitting play and repeat on my ipod for the couple weeks as if I were trying to overdose on his music. And it just keeps getting better.

I confess I am a music druggie. Music makes me happy, it’s something I have always loved, indulged in and it’s always been a part of my life, so I am rather picky when it comes to people I like and telling others they need to hear them. But I am really excited about Perkin’s Ash Wednesday. Elvis Perkins music is the kind of music you hang on to, you listen carefully to it over and over. You try to “get it,” you try to let it seep into your bones. I don’t think I am I am being hasty when I say it really is from the stuff classics are made of.

So when Cate emailed us about seeing Perkins play in Echo Park I jumped at the chance to go to the show. I am not overstating this when I say the show was the best show I’ve seen since I saw Bob Dylan in 2002. In fact as I stood there trying to take it all in I thought to myself, “this guy could actually be our generations’ Dylan.” For those of you who know me, you’ve got to know just how serious a statement like that is.

Perkins’ folk-style, almost alt. country rock tunes infused with the best of what indie rock has to offer, exemplifies the craft of song-writing, stage performance and collaboration. His band “dearland” is not only musically talented but energetic on stage. I love the way they look like cutouts from a bluegrass band.

Perkins himself has the stage presence of a season rock-star. He’s got the spirit and energy of Bob Dylan, his voice is as strong as Paul McCartney’s, he looks like John Lennon, his guitar chords and arrangement reminded me of Neil Young, and his life is similar to the life of Shakespearean tragedy. His songs are made up of many layers of imagery, offering a surface story, and something deeper, something almost subterranean in its depth. There is a deep-seeded yearning you’d expect to find in David Bazan’s songs but with much more hopefulness and desire. This is hard to imagine if you take into account the fact that his father Anthony Perkins died of Aids, and his mother Berry Berenson died in the 2001 terrorist attacks. Perkins has somehow been able to bring the saddest of despair together with a wonderful and celebratory sound that you can’t help but love. You don’t have to listen long to know this guy is doing something special.

And so I am telling you in hopes that you too will love this Elvis Perkins, will he be our next Dylan? It may be too soon to tell, but then again he already looks like a classic.

Related Links:

Listen to Elvis Perkins on Myspace

His Website

Wikipedia Article on Elvis

You can get his album (or listen to bits of it) on emusic.

Stylus Magazine Review

NPR Reviews: An Insomniac’s Tender Midnight Ruminations

Elvis Perkins: Brooding, Thoughtful, Sophisticated

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Published by

Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

6 thoughts on “Elvis Perkins @ the Echo: Already Looks Like A Classic”

  1. Wow – what an accolade!

    I’m going to see Bob in Birmingham in April, and if we can get to see Elvis in Birmingham in May I’ll be able to see if you’re right! ;o) I’m sure you are!

    Bob’s latest stuff is still amazing though! For instance,
    “I was thinkin’ ’bout Alicia Keys, couldn’t keep from crying
    When she was born in Hell’s Kitchen I was living down the line
    I’m wondering where in the world Alicia Keys could be
    I been looking for her even clear through Tennessee …
    I got the porkchops, she got the pie
    She ain’t no angel and neither am I”
    from ‘Thunder On The Mountain’, Modern Times

    But Elvis sounds wonderful too!

    Simon

  2. Kevin – actually I thought of you while i was at the show, he kind of reminded me of you in a lot of ways and I am sure you’d dig his music.

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