Session Date: 11/13/2017
Session Location: Raisin’ Roots Farm - Fort Collins, CO
Meet Elli Perry. Elli grew up in North Georgia, but has been a traveller most of her life. There were a number of temporary homes along the way that were ultimately just as significant to who she is as that origin point was.
Elli first came through Fort Collins on tour in the Spring of 2017 in support of her record “Little Thieves”, and didn’t know a soul in town. “The rather underwhelming show I played ended up being a remarkably serendipitous experience that led to an entire community of friends and creative collaborators. Me husband and I fell in love with the people here, routed my tour schedule to bring us back to town again a couple more times throughout the year and eventually decided to settle here for a time in 2018.”
“I started playing music professionally when I was twelve years old, but i think i’ve been making music all of my life. My folks said that I hummed myself to sleep as an infant before I could speak, and I was always walking around with a handheld tape recorder making up melodies and lyrics when I was a kid. No one in my family is musical, but my mother was a writer and my father was an editor, so words and art were essential components of our household.”
As a young songwriter, Elli’s biggest influences were Elliott Smith, The Beatles, Chris Cornell, and Silverchair. Those artists and the music they made still all hold up as amazing sources of inspiration for me today. “I grew up singing in the small churches where my grandfather was a pastor in Appalachia, so old gospel music was hugely formative to the kind of singer I became." I'm arguably more passionate about literature than I am about music, and think the things I read inform a lot of the music I make. The work of Southern Gothic writers like Flannery O’Connor and Byron Herbert Reece, and French symbolist poets like Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine have a longstanding influence on the kinds of stories I’m prone to telling. My husband is also a beautiful writer, photographer, and my favorite person to collaborate with. Living in immediate proximity to his artwork influences me everyday.”
One of my favorite things to do is to ask artists and musicians to share a few stories from the road. There is never any shortage of storytelling gold when it comes to touring and playing music out every night. As expected, Elli had some great (and not-so-great) ones to share. “The road is filled with hilarious and tragic stories. There was the time when a drunken venue owner (who was later convicted of murder) sort of, kind of, not so accidentally locked me inside of a windowless apartment above the bar after closing, and I had to call my mom crying and ask her to stay on the phone with me until the opening staff arrived the next morning and heard me banding on the door and yelling for help. There was another time when I was really bored on a long drive through west Texas and decided to experiment with cooking a steak on my engine block. My favorite story is when my husband accidentally drove our RV into Mexico. We didn’t have our passports with us, and Border Control had quite the time tearing our rig apart looking for illicit paraphernalia (of which there was none).
“One of my favorite performances in recent memory was actually here in Fort Collins. Last October, my husband and I had a collaborative art show with our friend Mark Austin (aka Pappy Longlegs) at Wolverine Farms Letterpress & Publick House. Mark and I each played sets, and my husband did an installation piece of 200 photographs. It was a truly inspiring audience and event. Apart from that, every record I’ve released has felt like a success in it’s own right. And every night I stand on stage and manage to connect with someone who is listening is as well.”
Elli released a new EP earlier this Spring, and will be pressing it to vinyl shortly. There will be another round of shows after that comes out, and she’s planning to record another full length record later this year.
“I’m just really grateful to make art, across a variety of mediums, with a lot of people who I admire and am inspired by. Creativity ebbs and flows, success comes and goes, but the knowledge that I get to make work I believe in with people who I believe in always keeps me afloat. And I am truly thankful for every person who takes the time to stop and listen to what I do.”
Make sure to check out her Facebook page and listen to the rest of her music!