Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Tribute artist Albertson to perform in August at Memphis’ ‘Elvis Week’

Playing ‘The King’ is serious business
for Austin, Ind., resident

(June 2013) – Travis Albertson of Austin, Ind., lives his dream job – and brings others’ dreams to life. Albertson always knew he wanted to sing, and he began with gospel, rockabilly and country. One night, a gentleman approached him.
“He asked whether I’d ever sung an Elvis song,” says Albertson, 43. “I told him I had and sang a few bars for him. ‘Son,’ he said, ‘you need to get an Elvis suit and begin singing Elvis.’ I was tired of being paid in hot dogs and sodas, so when I found I could make money doing Elvis, I did.”
He’s been paying tribute to Elvis ever since.

Travis Albertson

Photos provided

Travis Albertson of Austin, Ind.,
has made a profession out of impersonating Elvis.

Travis Albertson

On May 17, Albertson brought Elvis to life for the residents at Hickory Creek at Madison, Ind., nursing home. Men sang with Albertson as women swooned.
“I love playing living centers,” says Albertson. “These are the people who attended Elvis’ concerts, bought his records, and made him a star. For a short time, I can bring him to life again for them.”
Albertson said he loves the impact his tributes to Elvis have on people. “I’ll be singing and someone will join in or stand to dance. Later, the staff will come up to me and tell me that person hadn’t talked or walked in months. It’s a real honor to be able to touch people in that way and bring some joy to them,” says Albertson.
Albertson’s honor for both Elvis and Elvis’ fans permeates his demeanor.
Sandy Delvillar, Albert-son’s agent, points to Albertson’s humility and respect for Elvis as his greatest draw. “Travis is a great singer, and he’s very well-known. His best trait is his humility. Very few Elvis Tribute Artists are humble. The love he has for Elvis and Elvis’ fans comes through. He knows the Elvis’ history and makes sharing that history part of the show. That’s most important to fans – to know the artist loves Elvis, too.”
Albertson’s commitment to bringing Elvis to life on every level has won him national acclaim. In 2000 he was voted the Best Elvis Tribute Artist in the United States. He was featured in the documentary on Elvis, “Fit for the King.” But his first love is performing live.
Albertson performs for events small to large. Regularly booked for birthday and corporate parties, he also performs for shopping centers, jamborees, and Elvis events.
Joey Kring, business office manager of Hickory Creek, highly recommends Albertson. “I’ve seen Elvis live, and Travis did an excellent job. Not only was his performance great, he visited with the residents and made them feel important. My mom was in the audience; she was thrilled.”
Albertson’s excellence led to him being invited for two shows at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Memphis, Tenn., during the upcoming “Elvis Week.” Albertson will join the country’s top Elvis artists Aug. 10-18 in paying tribute to Elvis’ memory.
“This is the most exciting booking I’ve had,” says Albertson.
Training hard to get ready, Albertson has worked on his vocals with an instructor from Mom’s Music, increased his exercise regime and recorded some original songs to capture the Elvis era. “I’m riding my bike 35-40 miles three times per week just to get my breathing up. It takes a lot of stamina to sing and jump around. I want to be at the top when I get to Memphis,” says Albertson.
He also spends hours watching Elvis videos and listening to his songs. “I’m my own worst critic. I’m always looking to improve,” says Albertson. “You can’t ever say you’re good enough. There’s always someone waiting in the wings. You have to be at the top of your game and set yourself apart.”
Albertson’s work portraying Elvis has become a family business. Albertson’s wife, Erica, works as hard behind the scenes as Travis does upfront. During the shows, Erica runs the sound system, organizes the props and keeps track of requests. She also focuses on getting Albertson what he needs during the show – anything from scarves to hand to fans to a cup of water.
“My goal is to get in and get out without ever upstaging him,” says Erica.
She times her movements perfectly to slip in, make the hand-off, and slip out without disrupting his choreography. In addition Erica schedules bookings, does the financial bookkeeping and helps Albertson get ready for shows. With Albertson regularly travelling five to seven different locations each week, Erica must keep all the organization flowing so Albertson can concentrate on the performances.
“I love it,” says Erica. “From our first dates, Travis would bring his guitar and sing to me. Now I never have the television or radio on around the house. His singing is better than anything else. I just listen to him. Being part of his performances – it’s the greatest job we’ve ever had.”

• For information on booking Travis Albertson for a show or purchase one of his 10 CDs, visit his MySpace or Facebook pages. For those interested in traveling to Memphis for Elvis Week, Devillar says, “If you mention “Elvis Week Block” you get a significant discount for a great room at the Crowne Plaza.”

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