Visit www.lakegerogeelvisfest.com for festival information and tickets
Tupelo, Memphis, Las Vegas.
If you’re business is creating Elvis Presley tribute shows, you’d be hard pressed to find three locations that would be more intimidating. For Shawn Klush it comes with being the most recognized tribute artist in the business.
“Man, the people of Tupelo, they’re just real, you know. Salt of the earth people who know right and wrong and what’s important in life. You can feel the impact the city had on Elvis’s background,” Shawn Klush says.
Shawn is headlining Elvis’ hometown festival the day before he travels to Lake George. It’s part of a busy year that his taken him literally around the globe to sold out houses in the UK, Australia, Canada, the US and, later this year, Chile and Mexico.
Of all his stops, it’s the one in the third week of August that brings with it a special responsibility. For the last few years Shawn has been chosen to headline the tribute concert at Elvis week in the city that Elvis called home. (Note: This year, as a result of scheduling changes for the Ultimate Contest by EPE, it is possible that Shawn may not necessarily be able to do the Memphis Concert.)
“You can just feel the love for Elvis all over the city. I get chills playing for the fans there because they know Elvis, they know the music and they know his charisma. It is a real honor,” Shawn says.
It’s also a chance for Shawn to travel in the same circles as the man he pays homage to. Shawn counts as his friends guys like Joe Esposito, Jerry Shilling, the late Charlie Hodge and other members of the inner circle that came to be known as “The Memphis Mafia.”
“It’s all about respect, I would never, ever do anything to disrespect Elvis, his life or his memory. People learn that about me real quick and Elvis’ inner circle picked up on that,” Shawn says.
This summer the Las Vegas Hilton, the casino hotel that Elvis put on the map in the 70’s is paying tribute to the king. The weekend in July will feature discussions, meet and greets with Elvis confidants and, of course, a concert. When the time came to select someone to perform, Shawn was honored to get the call.
“To play the same stage that he did, to literally walk in his footsteps is going to be fantastic. I can’t help feeling that somehow Elvis’ Spirit will be with me on stage that night,” Shawn says.
For Shawn, keeping Elvis’s spirit alive is far more than just a gig. It’s a chance to bring the man’s charisma, talent and energy to people who didn’t get the chance while Elvis was alive or for those who want to relive the magic of the past. It’s something Shawn Klush takes quite seriously.
“The man was flesh and blood just like the rest of us. But there was something else to him, an energy, and a charisma that was extraordinary. If I can bring some of that alive when I hit the stage then I know I’ve done my job,” Shawn says.
The Elvis breakdown
You’re allowed five Elvis songs when you’re marooned on an island—which ones do you take?
If I Can Dream
The American Trilogy
Stand By Me
A Little Bit of Green
TTWII and Elvis On Tour
Favorite Elvis “Guilty Pleasure” songs
Stay Away Joe
Yoga is as Yoga Does
Favorite Tour Year