A Land and Genre That Time Forgot
Elvis Perkins brings back old classic folk music when we had thought it had been lost. He has an old soul that radiates through out every song. He sings like there is a story he wants to tell, and it’s all drawn out so unmistakably clearly that you would need help to miss it. Perkins mirrors folk singer Bob Dylan and is getting the same kind of attention. With his three-piece touring band (playing a grand total of ten instruments), he references and plays up other folk songs and conventions on his album Elvis Perkins in Dearland .
Perkins’s main influences are Dylan and a British singer Donavan, which sings the famous song “Yellow is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”. In “Shampoo,” he starts with the same theme, just singing his darker version: “Yellow is the color of my true love’s crossbow /Yellow is the color of the sun/And black is the color of a strangled rainbow”. The songs on this album have a hint of simplicity even among the numerous instruments and passionate lyrics. Perkins has a well thought out plan that is carefully constructed throughout this trip and beyond. In “Hours Last Stand,” we get to hear the dramatic sounds and precise storytelling of a dream that he once had of his love. Perkins also proves he can alternate between the sweet sounds of folk to the smooth dark sounds of blues in “I’ll Be Arriving,” which starts with a low booming tambourine and a synthed out voice before giving way to a dark sound unlike anything we have heard from him yet. A trumpet then roars from the back and concludes the bluesy tone, which may come as a shock to all folk fans.
In Perkins most recent Doomsday EP, a mere six songsbring the same classic folk sound he is known for with a New Orleans twist. In “Stop, Drop, Rock & Roll,” he changes things up a bit again and goes into an old rock and roll phase with guitar solos and knee slapping lyrics that make you want to get up and jive along. Perkins has an original sound that manages to sound like you’ve heard it somewhere before. Elvis Perkins succeeds at making classic folk music and even makes the blues sound modern. With these two albums, he brought us back in time and showed us where his and our musical roots came from.