It‚??s been said to him time and time again, by his fans, judges, celebrities, and in reviews, but what better person to validate he‚??s a dead ringer for the ‚??King of Rock ‚??N‚?? Roll‚?Ě than Elvis‚?? daughter herself?
‚??All these guys I‚??m friends with that were friends of Elvis were telling her that I‚??m the real deal, and I don‚??t think she saw it until we were face to face with one another,‚?Ě Pittston native and Elvis impersonator Shawn Klush said of his backstage meeting with Lisa Marie this past year in Memphis. ‚??The whole time, we would just keep catching each other‚??s eyes. She saw me and went, ‚??Hmm, those guys were right.‚??‚?Ě
Klush will perform with the Sweet Inspirations Saturday at the F.M. Kirby Center, a show that will benefit the Pittston Memorial Library expansion project.
It‚??s no coincidence ‚??the closest thing to the King in concert,‚?Ě as he bills himself, is home so close to Thanksgiving. The down-to-earth Klush, whose drawl and Presley-like demeanor rings through clearly even over the phone, makes it a point to be home for every holiday, always ready to return to his roots. To this day, he‚??s humbled by his experiences, and thankful.
‚??I‚??m a little Irish-Italian-Polack from Pittston: What do I possibly have to give to the world? But God puts people in places for a reason, and I am extremely lucky. It‚??s still very strange for me when I‚??m with people who were friends with Elvis and they‚??re telling me how similar I am to him.‚?Ě
Klush‚??s natural Elvis-like demeanor is just one facet of the entire act that now makes up his life‚??s work. His show is a tribute, one that is meticulously worked on to ensure it‚??s as close to the real thing as possible, something he hopes more and more people come to realize.
‚??So many people have the wrong impression of what we do. When I hear the word ‚??impersonator,‚?? I think of Danny Gans or someone doing a million voices. When people hear ‚??Elvis impersonator,‚?? they think of some guy in a jumpsuit. What we do, this tribute, is a completely different thing. We‚??re modeling off of something done 30, 40 years ago. I‚??ve taken it to the point where I‚??ve got the guys that made Elvis‚?? original suits. It‚??s very high energy, and that‚??s the part of his career that we focus on.‚?Ě
As far as authenticity is concerned, it gets no better than who will sing alongside Klush at the Kirby, the Sweet Inspirations, who were Elvis‚?? back-up singers throughout his entire career.
‚??When you stand on stage with women their age and they open their mouth, you understand and know that the man knew what he was doing,‚?Ě Klush said. ‚??He had a keen sense of feel and he had an unbelievable ear, and he picked those ladies single-handedly, and that‚??s why: because until this day when they open their mouth, it‚??s the sweetest sound you ever heard.‚?Ě
It‚??s no secret that Elvis certainly had that ‚??it‚?Ě factor, but what was it specifically that made him so appealing? The mystery is what drew Klush to the pop culture icon in the first place.
‚??It‚??s that very thing that everybody‚??s always trying to figure out, what it is that he had. To this day, I can‚??t. You‚??ll see facets of it in pictures, you‚??ll see pieces of it come out on stage, but from what I‚??m told you never, ever felt it until you saw him live.‚?Ě
‚??D.J. Fontana, who was Elvis‚?? drummer, well, we were using a certain picture of Elvis in the beginning of our shows to model after and I said to him, ‚??Did that son of a gun really look that good?‚?? and he goes, ‚??He looked better.‚??‚?Ě
That notion sat with Klush for a while, and it finally became clear when he met Lisa Marie.
‚??She just has this power. I looked at her and she went, ‚??Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it from him.‚?? If Lisa can do that, literally hold you in the palm of her hand with her eyes, can you imagine what the old man had?‚?Ě
Shawn Klush & the Sweet Inspirations: Nov. 24, 8 p.m., F.M. Kirby Center (71 Public Square, 570.826.1100). $75 VIP, $45, $35.