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Alabama Baptist incorporates gospel music into Elvis tribute showscomment (0)

April 3, 2014

By Bruce Sims

Alabama Baptist incorporates gospel music into Elvis tribute shows

Elvis is in the building,” or “Thank you. Thank you very much,” is something Elvis Presley tribute artist Shane Tucker hears a lot.

Tucker, a member of First Baptist Church, Foley, and an assistant principal at Foley High School, said he was encouraged to become a tribute artist after lip-synching several Elvis songs at a party for teachers from his school.

“Like many singers, I started singing in church as part of the children’s and later the youth choirs,” he said. “During that time I also began singing solos. This helped develop a love of music in me that covers a number of genres.”

Tucker’s favorite musical genres include country and southern rock, and Elvis is one of his all-time favorite singers.

“Elvis had a captivating style and a powerful, unmatched vocal talent,” Tucker said. “Performing as a tribute artist is my way of keeping the King of Rock and Roll’s music and memory alive for those who remember him as well as introducing him to younger generations.”

While an impersonator attempts to look, act and sound exactly like the performer being impersonated and stays in character throughout the entire performance, a tribute artist doesn’t go quite that far. He or she does try to look the part and provide certain similarities, but the main focus is paying tribute by singing the performer’s songs.

Tucker — who definitely looks the part — bought his first Elvis suit for $50.

And while he started out using karaoke tracks, “before long I had a band to back me on stage,” he said. “Today it’s the Promised Land Band that backs me.”

Tucker now finds himself in great demand by fans of Elvis and even younger generations.

“People want to come out, have a good time and hear some great music,” he said. “For those who grew up when Elvis was popular, the music has a way of taking them back to their teenage years.”

Recently Tucker performed two, sold-out concerts for the local Snowbirds, who are winter visitors to the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area.

“There were a few people in the audience who had actually seen Elvis perform live,” he said. 

Tucker, who said he keeps his shows family-friendly, also incorporates some of Elvis’ gospel songs.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but the [Grammy] Awards Elvis won while he was alive all came from his gospel album and singles,” he said.

Tucker has performed at a variety of South Alabama venues, but his talent also took him to a ministry event in the Philippines in 2012. His evangelist and ministry team parents, Johnny and Judy Tucker, have had a ministry in Mati City for 25 years and were leading a pastor and lay ministers’ conference that year, so he helped entertain.

He said his parents’ ministry kept their family moving around a lot until they settled in Citronelle when he was in third grade.

“I was able to attend high school there, where I played football,” he noted. “I was recruited to play at Livingston University on a half-athletic, half-academic scholarship.”

It was at Livingston that Tucker met his wife, Carmyn, the baby of the singing Reed sisters from Cullomburg. 

“Sometimes Carmyn and I will do a duet, or she may sing a solo (during performances),” Tucker said. “But to this day I haven’t been able to get her to dress up like Elvis’ wife, Priscilla.”

Some years ago Tucker, in full Elvis regalia, was standing alongside Alabama Highway 59 in Summerdale waving at passersby as part of a promotion for a local recreational vehicle store when a car accident took place up the road from him.

“After they had cleaned the highway up the policeman, who worked the scene, asked me if I knew I had caused the wreck,” Tucker said. “That staggered me. He went on to say a lady had just passed me and was looking back over her shoulder as she thought she had just seen the real Elvis. That’s when she plowed into the car in front of her.”

For more information about Tucker and his performances, visit www.ElvisAtTheGulf.com. 

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