What They're Saying
Michael Smith (Notorious Chicago based Songwriter) - Eli sings tunefully without folderol or affectation. One can practice for a lifetime and not achieve this rare vocal quality, which I think is due to character, upbringing and personal straightforwardness, plus an innate musicality. Pete Seeger has this, and maybe Odetta. You can't buy it. But I'm proud to say that these days I'm capable of knowing it when I hear it, which is the next best thing to having it myself. You can take this from me to the bank: this lady is The Real Thing.
Bill shares this honest vocal quality, although I'll say that I felt more ready to appreciate him after the lady so ably set the vocal tone.It was kinda like, if she's with him and he's with her I'll trust in it. He has a jug-band, humorous sensibility in his voice. Sometimes he makes me think of Jerry Colonna, or of twenties recordings R. Crumb would feature. He's charming and gruff and fun to listen to. And, oh, his guitar playing: such a pleasure to hear. This gentleman knows what he's doing and clearly has been doing it for a long long time. His touch is absolutely secure; your shoulders relax when you realize he's going to pull off everything he attempts. He'll switch tone so slyly, and everything he plays is aggressive and groovy.
Their songs are sincere, well made and issue-oriented. Were Gamble Rogers and Will McLean still here, I'd feel confident saying to them, "Here's some folks along your vein that you'll appreciate." It's like sitting in a screened-in porch on a warm night and listening to real Florida people with something to say and a no-nonsense and loving way of presenting it. Thank God for such honest artists among us, and thank these folks for carrying the torch.
Judge Nelson Bailey - Wow ! Great show you two put on last night ! Eli, you have an exceptional stage presence that connects with impact and on a very personal level with every member of the audience. You and Bill complement each other on stage wonderfully well. To both of you I say: One of the best stage performances I've ever seen.
Harriette Berman - I am so, so glad that you came & I got to have the experience of your amazing performance at Peoples' Voice Cafe'. This is what I'm talking about! Another "substance" event. Music to stir the Soul! Fabulous performance. Please know your performance was memorable and it's still on my mind this Monday evening. I know that everyone I spoke to, who was there, agreed wholeheartedly!
Vince Martin (The Classic American Folksinger) - Bill's guitar playing is excellent and crisp, and Eli sing's with a pure joy in her voice. Their songs are memorable, topical, and very enjoyable. Even after so many years, they both still have a fresh, and "new, in the moment" energy that is wonderful!
Sir Charles Atkins (Florida State University Blues Lab Professor) - Bill & Eli are very soft-spoken, humble people. Musically the stuff they do is quite polished. It's about as close as anyone, here, comes to recalling, in our time, the authentic sound of traditional American Music.
Stetson Kennedy (Author, Folklorist, and Human Rights Activist) - Thank-you for your deliberate contribution to better society.
Keith Harrlson (Moonlight on the Mountain) - Imagine George Burns and Gracie Allen as a couple of sweet old hippies, and you have a start on what to expect from our performers tonight--- this spunky, spirited duo just keeps rolling along as they always have, a combination blues-folk compendium and social-justice vanguard. While celebrating a hundred-year history of indigenous American music, Bill and Eli insist on tugging us onward with two lifetimes' perspective on how good people ought to behave. But they ain't no scolds-- the finger-wagging's reserved for marking time to a sassy swing number...
RoseMarie Kafer (President - Pinellas County Historical Society) - On behalf of Pinellas County Historical Society, I want to thank you for your outstanding, Florida musical program. As you could see, our membership was enthused and happier when they left then when they arrived. Your delivery was fun, entertaining and educational for our membership. I have received so many compliments about the program. Many, so pleased with your performance, asked that I convey their appreciation and thanks.
Fran Snyder (Founder of Concerts in Your Home Network) - Bill & Eli Perras charmed our audience with heartfelt delivery and compelling songs. Eli is a wonder to watch, and this lovely couple were a delightful addition to our inaugural Listening Room Festival. So enjoyable.
Tony Thomas (Old Time Banjo Virtuoso) - Frankly it was pleasant to have a real group of what I consider folk music hosted by the folk club and I feel honored to have hosted you. Too many of the people who the club has are people whose real credentials and music is rock and roll and have as little to do with traditional music or social concern as anything you hear on a top 40 radio station.
Berkeley" Bob Keefe (Proprietor of Berkeley Bob's Coffeehouse) - Bill & Eli Perras are coming up from Florida to perform. Don't miss this, its one of the most unusual folk blues acts you will ever see, really good stuff. Bill plays a mean guitar, Eli sings the blues in a very animated style. American style folk music at it's best.
Jim Strickland (Mr. Ethnic's WMNF Old Time Music Show) - Bill & Eli Perras were wonderful! Great blues guitar finger-picking from Bill as they warmed hearts and touched our souls with their unique original songs. One song in particular that chronicled Eli's search for herself, from being an "unadoptable" foster child to finding her roots as a full blood Arawak Indian brought us goose bumps and misty eyes.
John Casey (IndyWest House Concerts) - We hosted a house concert featuring Bill & Eli. There was such warmth to their performance, you can imagine them playing to hundreds or thousands at a folk festival, but to be in a room with less than 20 people is just amazing. It is hard to look away from Eli, as she does not just sing, she literally performs and Bill's finger-picking is second to none.