January 31, 2019

The tour is almost over!

It’s January 30 and we are at our final destination before our return home on Saturday. Bregenz, Austria, is a beautiful city nestled by the Austrian/Swiss Alps and situated by Lake Bodensee. I’m told the lake is not the largest but the deepest in all of Europe.
Some amazing events have taken place since I last wrote. We were in Bonn, Germany, for two shows, and a lovely little hotel situated right on the main promenade. So many people came to the shows and yet, our afterglows and meeting with the fans and friends took prominence. Renewing acquaintances and meeting new friends allowed us to share our hearts with them. These lovely people here in Germany in many ways are just like us in the US. They are reaching out to find the reality and significance of their lives. We know what brings that about.  Jesus Christ has come to give us life abundantly and every night we sing, we share that abundant life through our songs and through the time spent with fans and friends. When we stood in the center of that crowd and sang “There’s a sweet spirit in this place”, we meant it! The spirit of the Lord came down in a gentle way and the people there responded. Tears were shed and hearts were encouraged. We have been in touch with many of them since that time, and their stories would thrill you. Yes, we are performing Elvis songs, but we are also singing the gospel, the GOOD NEWS that actually brought us to Elvis in the beginning. We remain true to that calling.
From Bonn, we were driven to the beautiful, historical city, Bad Homburg, and the same hotel where Elvis actually took up residence for a while. A press conference had been scheduled there for the German media and during that press conference, Dennis asked us to sing Sweet Spirit to reporters. A visit to Elvis’ hotel room was filmed for German TV and newspapers carried an in-depth story of our upcoming visit in October. You may see pictures from that visit on my Facebook page or the Imperial’s page as well. I would imagine Dennis Jale, James Burton, and Donna Tutt, Ronnie’s wife, have it on their Facebook pages too.
So we end this amazing month with grateful hearts. We didn’t do this; God did!  Dennis Jale has a vision of what appeals to the Europeans here and the TCB band and the Imperials fit into that vision. Why us? Because we were willing to go and share our music and our lives with these wonderful people.
We thank Dennis Jale for the opportunity to come here and we thank God for opening the door and making this trip possible.
January 18, 2019

All Things Are Possible

As I sit here in a hotel room in Vienna, Austria I am reflecting on the recent two concerts in Denmark and Norway.  Both venues were packed with friends and fans who came to hear Dennis Jale, the TCB band and the Imperials, along with Dennis’ band, the Jam Gang. The receptions were amazing and the love expressed to us was genuine. We have been given a great opportunity and it comes a with responsibility, to be honest in who we are off stage as well as on stage. 

We had a long flight from home and with no sleep on the plane, we arrived in Aalborg, Denmark and had an hour-long drive to Randers. With two hours of sleep, we had to make our way to the Memphis Mansion, owned and operated by our good friend, Henrik Knudsen.  As usual, the crowd was waiting for us and welcomed us with open arms. After the reception, we got the chance to sing Sweet Spirit into the phone of a man whose mother was sick and unable to be there. She was crying over the phone as we sang. 

Our first concert was in Randers and the crowd loved the show. The hour was late when we got back to the room, and we had an early flight so with very little sleep we made the one hour drive back to the Aalborg airport and flew to Oslo. We got to the hotel around three o’clock and left at four for the venue and sound check. After the show, we had a meal at the hotel. I had made a get-well video for a lady named Lisa and, as I was leaving the gathering, her husband was there and had brought Lisa with him. She was in a wheelchair, and as I spoke to her, she told me with tears in her eyes, that the doctors had given her two months to live! I felt impressed to pray for her right there in the lobby of the hotel.

I’m no saint, but I recognize when God says “pray” and I did. At breakfast the next morning, they were there, and their friend came over and said she had felt the warmth through her body as I prayed for her. She slept through the night, which was not normal for her. Would you pray that God would touch Lisa in Norway and confound the doctors who had given her no hope? All things are possible with God and healing was paid for on the cross of Calvary over 2000 years ago. Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you”. I simply asked and we will see what God will do. Thank you for your supporting prayers and know that I can’t do this alone. 

January 10, 2019

The Imperials and James Burton on the Mike Huckabee Show

The new year opened with a tremendous opportunity for the Imperials. On January 4, we made our debut with our new tenor, Will Shaw, on the Mike Huckabee Show on the TBN television network. What a reception! The Governor couldn’t have been nicer. He welcomed us with our good friend, legendary lead guitarist and rock and roll hall of Famer, James Burton. James and I were interviewed by the Governor and afterward, we went center stage for our first song, The Wonder of You was one we sang with Elvis many times. James played his familiar guitar licks and we sang the song. After a short break, we came back on with a song I wrote lyrics to, This Train, and James helped us out on the instrumental lead solo. A third song was added for their internet audience and James was featured throughout that song, Johnnie B. Goode. You may find all three of these songs on YouTube and I encourage you to watch. I would say we couldn’t have been more pleased with our reception, the sound, and the production. I have put two of the three songs on my Facebook page and they are exciting to watch and to listen to.

On January 9, we board a plane for Denmark to begin our three-week tour of Europe. Will Shaw will be with us for his first tour as tenor for the Imperials. We will introduce him to European audiences and I have a feeling they will love him. He’s an amazing singer and people will get to experience him firsthand.  We will have many new songs and hope the tour is successful. Our host, Dennis Jale, has done a lot of work putting this tour together and I think it’s going to be a great one.

I know how hard change is for people. Life is full of changes. We change from birth to toddler, to the first day in school, to Junior High, High School, college for some, marriage for others. If we don’t change, we stagnate and get complacent. So, I challenge you to not resist changes in life but embrace them. Sometimes change is for the better and sometimes it’s for worse. However, complacency is not an option in life if you want to grow. In the Christian life, we are constantly changing and being molded into the image of our savior, Jesus Christ. He will not allow us to become complacent.  May 2019 be a year of growth for you and for me. I want more of God’s best that can only be realized when we follow His lead and walk obediently in His footsteps.

December 27, 2018

2018: The Year in Review

The year 2018 is almost gone and a new year is fast approaching.  This year has brought both disappointments and encouraging developments. We started off the year with a month-long TCB tour with Dennis Jale as we visited many European countries.  The Imperials had our first appearance at GaitherFest in Gatlinburg, TN on Memorial weekend. Bill Gaither does this every May and we were honored to be there. He couldn’t have been nicer to us and has invited us back again this May for another weekend. I hope you can be there in 2019.  You can go to Gaither.com for any questions you might have. 

In August, we had two major events. We did a concert with our friends, the Stamps Quartet, across from Graceland. What a great crowd we had, and Donnie Sumner was his usual hilarious impromptu self. After Memphis, we drove back to Nashville and boarded a flight for Denmark. Our friend and promoter, Henrik Knudsen, had his first European Elvis festival and it was a smashing success. We will be back next year for another festival. 

In October we were invited to the TCB cruise from Barcelona, Spain with stops in Naples, Rome, and Florence, Italy, Cannes, France and a final stop in La Palma, Spain.

It was a celebration of 25 years of marriage with my wife, Tina, who deserves a medal for putting up with my schedule.  Also aboard that ship was Priscilla Presley, Jerry Schilling, James Burton, Ronnie and Donna Tutt, Glen Hardin and our host, Dennis Jale who did all the hard work to put this cruise together. We had concerts in Barcelona and then two shows with Dennis and one gospel show with the Imperials while aboard ship. 

In November we did a ten-day tour with Morgan Voein in Norway. The tour was a great success and we made many new friends. Our hope is that we will return sometime in the future for another tour. 

December found us back for our Christmas tour with Dennis Jale as we started out in Basel, Switzerland and ended up two weeks later back in Vienna, Austria for our ninth anniversary of Christmas shows with Dennis.

In 2019, we will begin the year with our new tenor, Will Shaw. He comes to us highly recommended and we are excited to see what doors God opens for us. We wish Royce great success as he pursues his own schedule with the Vogues, and solo concerts. 

Our very first event will be a TV show with Mike Huckabee on the TBN television network. James Burton will play guitar with us on our songs and he and I will be interviewed by Mike about our work with Elvis. We film it January 4 and I don’t know when it will air.  I hope you will be watching it. 

May it be your BEST year yet! 

October 18, 2018

A Whirlwind Tour of Rome

I know I missed last week’s blog. I was on a slow boat to Rome, Italy from a start in Barcelona, Spain, ending back in Barcelona, and had no internet. You can imagine how frustrated I was not being able to write and get it published in time. The cruise was the TCB Cruise with Dennis Jale as host. Priscilla Presley was on board, Jerry Schilling and his wife, Cindy, were there. James and Louise Burton, Ronnie and Donna Tutt, Glen D Hardin and were included in that lineup. We flew to Barcelona, Spain and did a concert there the first night. The next day, we boarded the ship and set sail for Naples, Italy as our first stop. We arrived there the next morning where we exited the ship and took a taxi to visit Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. That was an amazing story. The city was hit with an earthquake in 62 AD and it did much damage to the city. As they were in the process of recovery, Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and the eruption was so quick and complete that people were actually buried in volcanic ash before they had a chance to escape. There are actual corpses there to prove that. History records that the city had become very carnal and wicked and though they don’t link it to God’s judgment, for those of us who are Christians, it’s a distinct possibility this was from the hand of God. He’s slow to anger but if He is provoked long enough, He will act. Human nature without God in their plans always devolves to a lower state of moral depravity.  It seems Pompeii was just one more example of that. From the ruins of Pompeii, we took the cab back to Naples where we found a little pizza shop and got online for about an hour. I had so many emails I couldn’t even get to them all. And the pizza wasn’t even that good!

The next day we had a whirlwind tour of Rome. We took a bus to the train for an hour’s ride into Rome. From there we took a guided two-hour tour of the city. We passed the Vatican so quickly I didn’t even have time to say hello to the pope. The tour had to be fast as we had two shows to do that night so we had to get back on the train, and the bus back to the ship. Two shows that night and weary from a long day, we fell into bed that night. It seems the wind from the open touring bus caused problems for my sinuses and I got a very bad cold the next day. I was so sick I didn’t get to explore the next stop in Cannes, France. Tina got off and said it was the most beautiful spot of the tour. It must have been as she came back with several purchases.

The next stop was Palma de Mallorca, Spain. By this time I was better so Tina and I debarked and visited the shops. This town is known for its pearls and so we purchased a necklace for Tina and earrings for Leah, our daughter. We had to get back to the ship as that night was the gospel concert night for us. Priscilla came, Jerry Schilling was there, and James and Louise Burton were there. It was a great night.

Finally, after six days at sea, we arrived back in Barcelona, where we had to get off the boat at 6 am for the trip to the airport. We left Barcelona for JFK airport at 10 am and arrived in NYC just in time to miss our connecting flight home. AA rerouted us to Dulles in Washington and then we got to our final destination around 9 pm. After the luggage was retrieved, we arrived home about 11:30 pm. That meant, counting the time changes,  we had been up for 24 hours straight with no sleep! So how was YOUR week?