An eclectic collection of songs that seem to bridge the boundary lines of multiple genres of American music. Colored by Perkins’ ever-shifting landscape of guitar textures, the collection has been described as “Distinctively its own thing.” “ . . . will break your heart, lift your spirits, make you dance, and occasionally laugh.” “Inspired playing, inspired lyrics, distinctive voice—doesn’t sound like anyone else.” The impact of guitars dominates perceptions of Fugitive Colors. But, just as impressive are Perkins’ words in this tribute to lost love and friendship.
Described by critics as a blues-rock masterpiece, Pistol City Holiness is Dave Perkins’ return to his first love. “The blues was the first music to capture my imagination,” says Perkins. “It grabbed me because it was something other—alien—and, yet, at the same time, deeply familiar. I’ve never gotten over it. I’ve worked in a lot of different styles of music, but my approach to each one was and will always be shaped by the blues.” Reflecting on the creation of Pistol City Holiness, Perkins says, “I wanted to make an album that brought back the excitement I felt when I first heard Muddy Waters, Cream, Fred McDowell, and Peter Green. “ A brew of musical energies, Pistol City Holiness blurs boundary lines between styles, and makes an artistic statement that speaks to the variety and depth of Perkins’ experience—musical and otherwise—all while keeping the blues as the emotional, musical, and spiritual center.
When it is suggested that the Deadline soundtrack has him following in the footsteps of some very notable guitarists, Perkins responds, “I admired John Hammond’s work on Little Big Man. Same with Lanois and Sling Blade. Ry Cooder’s Paris, TX and The Long Riders go without saying.” Perkins says that the film’s setting in the deep South offered a particular enticement to his signing on for the project. “The region’s rich music history allowed me to cover a lot of stylistic terrain. The soundtrack is something of a travelogue of where I’ve been musically.” In building a bridge between Deadline’stwo cultural locations— the shiny new urban South of cities like Atlanta and Nashville and, also, the rural South where traditions linger—Perkins’ primary tools are his guitars. They cover Appalachian and Delta ground and, on the other extreme, the modern and experimental. It is in the department of songs, however, that Perkins’ score rises above its first function as sound for picture. “To Be Redeemed” is nothing less than a contemporary civil rights anthem that reaches beyond the issue of race to voice the cry of many Americans—the currently in-the-news 99%—who are speaking out because they fear for their future.
Available here in vinyl only and in very limited supply.
Released in 1987 by A&M Records and What? Records, The Innocence was Dave Perkins’ first label release after his journeyman years as guitarist for a number of outstanding American music makers. The album drew much interest for its combination of Southern music sensibilities with Anglophile New Wave and Post-Punk. Prominently featured on the album is Perkins’ rhythm guitar playing, performed mostly on a 1962 Stratocaster as opposed to his old Gibson Les Paul. Perkins’ guitar style here is percussive with a slash and burn abandon. There are reasons why The Innocence has had a long shelf-life and remains relevant for fans. #1: It sounds incredible. #2: The songs marry memorable melodies with body-impacting musical force and intelligent, philosophical lyrics. There are eight original compositions on the album and one cover song, Pete Seeger’s “Turn, Turn, Turn.” By including the cover song, Perkins forecasts his soon-to-be-realized future. Guest singer Steve Taylor would a year later become a co-conspirator with Perkins and mutual friend Lynn Nichols in the formation of Chagall Guevara (MCA Records).
” . . . not since The Clash . . .”
Available on iTunes.