Elvis Perkins was raised in Los Angeles and New York and took to music at an early age, perhaps an inevitability if Elvis happens to be your name. He briefly learned the saxophone, before picking up the guitar in high school and taking lessons with Prescott Niles, one-time bassist for the Knack. While he played in rock bands, Perkins also developed an interest in the classical guitar, and began to compose music in both idioms. He wrote poetry too, which gradually morphed into lyrics. After a short stint at college, he began to cultivate the idiosyncratic, highly personalized style that distinguishes Ash Wednesday, a process which for Perkins was "a long journey, long in the coming".
Perkins' debut album started life as a collection of home-made demos, which were cut to analog tape, then fleshed out (with the help of a small group of friends and fellow musicians), in a Burbank studio and at a Victorian house in L.A The resulting material is Ash Wednesday, a beautiful album in which Perkins transforms circumstances of his personal life into compelling, dream-like songs with lyrics that teeter between the specific and the surreal.
For the last year and a half, Perkins (alongside his three-piece band: bassist Brigham Brough, keyboardist/guitarist Wyndham Boylan-Garnett, and drummer Nicholas Kinsey, known collectively as Elvis Perkins in Dearland) has been playing club dates throughout the USA to increasing acclaim. Perkins' live reputation has grown, along with his audience, aided no doubt by enthusing on-line bloggers. After a performance at Rockwood Music Hall, on Manhattan's Lower East Side, folks at Stereogum declared, "We were sold on the spot - fuss-worthy folkies just don't come easy...Double bass, harmonica and strings color these lyrical laments, but the man's easy melodicism is the real charm"
In writing, Perkins prefers the poetic to the polemical; his lyrics often have a whimsical quality, their melancholy aspects counterbalanced with an undercurrent of hope. He repeatedly returns to images of sleep and dreams and flight, as if we might all wake up at once and find ourselves in a far better place.