What: #1 ELVIS ETA Concert in the world returns to Gilmer
Travis Powell is a very special kind of entertainer. Although he is not a magician per se, he does perform a spellbinding act. It is a musical alchemy whereby he morphs from unassuming suburban dad into a king. And not just any king. THE king.
As one of the nation’s foremost Elvis Tribute Artists (ETAs), Powell has been winning ETA contests since grade school. In fact, while most toddlers were barely warbling their ABCs or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, by age four Powell had already zoned in on what he liked to do–and that was to sing Elvis songs.
“My mom was a music director,” says Powell, “and after (my parents) started playing Elvis for me, I apparently got up in the middle of a church service and started singing Love Me Tender.”
From there, he started entering talent shows at school and church events, winning his way through childhood and adolescence. After a stint in Nashville to pursue a country music career, he returned to his roots, and to what he loves best–as Elvis once said, “It’s my favorite part of the business, live concerts.”
Powell describes what fans can expect at his show, “They’re going to see me cover a couple of eras, the ’68 special and an authentic tribute to the later years.. We’re gonna have fun, we’re gonna dance, relive the magic of Elvis in an authentic way, it’s going to be a good time!”
“I know I’m not Elvis,” Powell says wryly, “But if we can go back in time and people can be transported and remember that feeling of actually watching Elvis, that’s what it’s all about. I just want to give everybody in that audience something to relate to. If I can do that, I feel like I’ve done Elvis proud.”
And for those who like to get up close and personal with their favorite performer, Powell says he has never had a bad experience with a fan. “If a fan comes up and they are teary-eyed or emotional, then I feel like I’ve done my job. What I do when I go on stage is sort of go back in time and remember what it was like to be there…especially for the ones who never got to see him, they can get the feel of what it was like to see him in person.”
Like his idol, Powell is also involved in charitable endeavors. “I started the Travis Foundation in 2014, basically to help the poorer children’s homes in my hometown, whether it be Christmas presents, school supplies, food, tutors, schoolwork, just a bunch of things to help the kids in my hometown.”
When asked what his favorite Elvis song is, Travis replies immediately, “My Way, although it does sometimes change because I listen to a lot of Elvis songs.”
From performing with artists who actually performed with Elvis himself, such as the Sweet Inspirations, to playing in venues where Elvis once played, Powell has strived to provide the most all-encompassing show possible. “We’ve got a great band, great costumes,” Powell promises.
“I just want to be the most authentic Elvis and express the love I have for him,” says Powell, and in that spirit, he smiles, “It’s been a fun ride.”
National Doo Wop Champions ‘Shake Ratte & Roll’ will open the concert.