South Carthage, Tenn. – The King of Rock ‘n Roll, Elvis Presley, passed away 40 years ago this year, on August 16, 1977, but to his legions of fans, his music will live on forever.
Many entertainers help keep that music alive in various forms, including tribute concerts. One such concert is coming to the Smith County Ag Center in South Carthage on Saturday, November 18. The show, titled From Memphis to Vegas, features Smithville resident Tom Duggin and his band, The Memphis Blues, performing the hits of the late great King of Rock ‘n Roll.
“Our show is a tribute to the music of Elvis Presley, performed in the style of one of his 1970’s concerts,” said Duggin. “It’s not an “impersonator” show. I don’t dress the part, but we work hard to put on a show that captures the spirit of an Elvis concert, while letting the music really stand out and speak for itself.”
Duggin and his group have been performing the show over the past four years, to sold out audiences. In years past, Duggin has performed with The Stamps Quartet, as well as J.D. Sumner’s Original Stamps Quartet, both groups featuring many of the backup singers who toured with Elvis during his latter concert years. More recently, the show has brought in another legendary gospel group, The Rangers Quartet. While The Rangers never performed with the King of Rock ‘n Roll, they have worked with a number of Elvis tribute artists, including famed country singer and noted Elvis sound-a-like, Ronnie McDowell.
“The Rangers Quartet joined the show last year, and these guys are absolutely amazing,” Duggin said. “They are one of the more historic groups in gospel music, and they have a strong, rich sound that adds so much to the show. Not to mention, they are simply wonderful people to work with.”
In addition to Duggin, The Rangers and the band, The Memphis Blues, two female soul singers, known as The Soul Sistas also join the entourage on stage.
“These ladies have been great friends of mine for many years,” noted Duggin. “We want everything about our show to have the feel of an Elvis concert. I never had the honor of seeing him perform live, but I hope people who come see our show will leave feeling inspired by the music and our performance. For me, it’s just a great honor to even have a chance to perform these songs for those who love Elvis as much as I do.”
There will be two shows performed at the Smith County Ag Center on November 18; a 2 p.m. matinee show and a 7 p.m. evening show. The concert leads off with a half hour performance by the legendary Rangers Quartet, who will then join Duggin and company for the Elvis tribute.
“It’s roughly a two-hour show, and sometimes goes a little longer,” said Duggin. “We don’t really keep track of time. We just want to make sure people coming get a quality show.”
General admission tickets to the concert are $20 and are available at Smith County Drugs in Carthage, and online at www.tomduggin.com. A limited number of reserved seats are also available for the first three rows. Those tickets are $25 while they last and are available online only. There will be roughly 400 tickets available for each show.
In addition to backing Duggin during the Elvis tribute, The Rangers will also perform a half hour opening gospel set to kick off the weekend shows. A full band will also join Duggin and The Rangers for the tribute, as well as a trio of female backup singers, known as The Soul Sistas.
As in the past, Duggin will not perform the show in the traditional Elvis jumpsuit, as many impersonators and other tribute artists do.
“It’s just not my thing,” Duggin said of wearing Elvis-like attire to the show. “There was only one Elvis, and I’m not him. I want the focus of the show to be on the music. We will certainly do some things that we hope are reminiscent of an Elvis concert, but at the end of the day, his music is what I want people to remember.”
Seating in the auditorium is limited for the event, and those interested in attending are encouraged to purchase their tickets as soon as possible.
“The auditorium seats anywhere from 225-250 people, which is why we decided to put on two shows, rather than one,” said Duggin. “We wanted to give as many people an opportunity to see the show as possible. We hope to pack the house for both shows, and we will do our best to put on a show we hope everyone there will always remember.”
For more information on From Memphis to Vegas, or to purchase tickets, call the Arts Center of Cannon County at (615) 563-2787, or purchase tickets online at www.artscenterofcc.com/elvistribute.html.