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Blues Brothers to be included in Calfee Park variety show

bluesbrospixBy CALVIN PYNN

calvin@southwesttimes.com

 

Wailing guitars, dance worthy rhythms and black suit and sunglasses-clad comedy legends will all be a part of the festivities in Calfee Park on Tuesday, July 15.

A tribute act to The Blues Brothers, along with regional blues act The Billy Crawford Band, will headline the “variety show” with interchanging sets during the performance, which is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Town of Pulaski’s baseball park. Local southern rock outfit “The Southern Nights Band” will also be on the bill.

Although the Blues Brothers will not be portrayed by Dan Akroyd and the late John Belushi, who made the characters Jake and Elwood Blues famous through their performances on Saturday Night Live in the late 1970′s, their personas will be brought to life by an equally enthusiastic duo. Josh Livingston, who portrays Jake Blues, started the tribute act roughly 20 years ago with his friend, Jarrod Millsaps, who portrays Elwood Blues, while the two were attending high school in Maryville, Tenn.

“It was something that required the two of us,” Livingston said of the act. “When there’s two of you, it just makes sense.”

Both Livingston and Millsaps were inspired to take on the act after watching a video of Akroyd and Belushi performing as The Blues Brothers on Saturday Night Live. Since then, the two have toured the country paying homage to the characters.

According to Livingston, however, this will be The Blues Brother’s first performance in Pulaski. Although he couldn’t specifically reveal which songs will make it into the set for Tuesday night’s performance, he did say that Blues Brothers classics such as “She Caught the Katy,” and “Soul Man” are expected to be included.

Livingston added that for this show, Elwood Blues will be portrayed on Tuesday night by Jessee Black, who alternates with Millsaps for the roll as the two work day jobs in addition to the act. For Livingston, however, performing as Jake Blues is a full time gig.

The Blues Brothers will interchange two 25-minute long sets with The Billy Crawford Band, based out of Bristol, Tenn. Crawford has become an established guitarist in the blues and hard rock scenes over the past couple decades, playing a mix of blues, rock, and surf, as well as mixing some New Orleans style into his sound.

Throughout the 1990′s, Crawford toured as a guitarist for blues songwriter Deborah Coleman. He has also shared the stage with Double Trouble, the band best known for backing legendary guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The Southern Nights band has played around Southwest Virginia since forming 18 years ago, establishing a reputation for performing a wide variety of blues, country, bluegrass, and southern rock classics, as well as their on originals. The band consists of lead vocalist David Niece of Princeton, WV, drummer Cecil Mullins, bassist Mark LeBlanc, and keyboardist Darren Huff, all of Pulaski, as well as lead guitarist Taylor McCoy, of Christiansburg.

Their road manager and sound technician, Terry McPeak, is also from Pulaski.

The doors will open at Calfee Park at 5:30 p.m., while the show will start at 6:30. Tickets will be $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Fine Arts Center of the New River Valley at 980-7363, or visit their Facebook page.

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