Hightail It Down to Mountain Home.
This Friday may be Black Friday for many, but it’ll be a Blue Suede Friday in Mountain Home as The Schwag – one of the nation’s top Dead tribute bands – will be joined by special guest DELVIS at Royal 66 as we join everybody in expressing our Thanksgiving “Grateful” spirit through music. Trust me: There won’t be anybody “goin’ down the road feeling bad,” because That’s All Right, Mama, they’ll be riding with the King. I will be donning my DELVIS Elvis Presley tribute act persona as I join The Schwag for a couple of Bobby Weir songs and an Elvis tune.
I first saw The Schwag at Rusty’s Last Chance Saloon in Manhattan, Kansas in 1997. After several Schwagstocks and other local shows, I grew to love them for their authentic and honest approach to celebrating the music of the Grateful Dead. Ever since Workingman’s Dead, Reckoning, and Europe ‘72 got me turned on in high school, I knew there was something in the style they showed me, a mysterious sense of Americana; an ancient endurance, wisdom, and truth to it all. It took me to the land of the shining midnight sun, and I knew my love for the Grateful Dead would Not Fade Away.
Grateful Dead earned their place in rockstar history with the way they – especially Jerry Garcia – held the audience in their hands and covered the full gamut of human emotion; with their rhythm and cadence and folk-lore story; with the way each song works with each other in setlist design; and how the lyrics are relatively accessible to any listener while also allowing personal interpretations. This is the way of the Grateful Dead, and this is the way to go home. Furthermore (see what I did there?), many other elements have continuously drawn my soul closer to their music – just as it continues to draw new fans young and old who feel the same way.
The Schwag eternalizes the past and keeps it fresh for the present. I do the same as Delvis. We’re all under the covers together, just trying to keep this sheet together, more or less in line.
The Grateful Dead and Elvis had more things in common than one would think.
In an www.al.com interview, Donna Godchaux discussed her work singing with the King himself.
“It was one of the most amazing times of my life. I had gone to see Love Me Tender when I was either 9 or 10, and everybody in the audience was screaming. But he was so kind to us and encouraging and complimentary, it was a wonderful time. He was a gentleman to the highest degree. And he looked great.”
Urged to elaborate, she adds: “I’m telling you, he was the most gorgeous human being I’ve ever seen, male or female – he was just unreal looking. Much better looking than any picture or any movie.”
Ronnie Tutt was Elvis’ drummer, and many folks don’t realize Tutt spent some time with Jerry Garcia’s Legion of Mary and Jerry Garcia Band. It has been said that Ronnie Tutt was the best drummer Jerry Garcia ever played with – right up there with Billy Kreutzmann at his peak. After the TCB Band disbanded upon Elvis Presley’s death and a number of years recording and touring in 1974-75 with Jerry Garcia‘s band Legion of Mary and then with the Jerry Garcia Band 1976-77, Tutt was invited by Neil Diamond to become Diamond’s permanent concert and recording session drummer.
Tutt’s drumming became a major feature of Diamond’s concerts, punctuating moments in the Diamond concert with his TCB Band-style drum fills and cymbal crashes. Tutt is a workman celebrity drummer, and routinely receives concert crowd ovations when he first appears on stage and takes a seat at his kit. Noteworthy during concerts is Tutt’s soaring drum work on the song, “Holly Holy.” Tutt has been recording and touring with Diamond ever since.
Of course then there’s the front and center parallels of Bobby Weir and Elvis. Both are tenor baritones, both were thrown into the limelight at an early age, and both leave it all on the stage. We’ll be delving (there I go again) into this more Friday night in Mountain Home.
The Schwag is all geared up for a nice 4-show run starting in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 22 then rolling on down the river down to Kansas City to gobble down at the Uptown Theatre for their annual Danksgiving show. Then it’s off to sweet Mountain Home for Blue Suede Friday (November 24) at Royal 66, where they will be joined by Delvis. Next up is One More Saturday Night in Jonesboro on Saturday, November 25. More information about The Schwag is available at TheSchwag.com.
Don’t feel like a stranger, shall we go, you and I, while we can? Don’t Be Cruel and meet me at the jubilee!
– Dusty “DELVIS” Duling