Blue Suede Connection

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An Elvis Fan First: Shawn Klush

 Shawn Klush; the world knows him as the first winner of the "Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist," named by Elvis Presley Enterprise, on Elvis' 30th anniversary (2007). But to fellow Elvis fans, he's like family.

 And it's that love of Elvis that connects fans around the globe, an instant repour that far exceeds any formal introduction. In fact, we don't need a history with one another to sit down for a chat. Elvis is what brings us together. He's the ultimate friend maker, and that's exactly how we (Dan and I) felt when we had a chat with Shawn Klush like we were friends, old Elvis friends.

And when we asked Shawn what stood out as the most memorable event in the 15 years since he'd won that first-ever EPE title, we were not surprised when his memory returned to Elvis and those closest to him.

"We played the Hilton, aka the International, and now the West Gate. And I was there with The Imperials, The Stamps, Dj Fontana, Jerry Schilling, and Joe Esposito. And I came off stage after the traditional 'Can't Help Falling in Love,' and Joe Esposito grabbed me, he put a towel around me, and he had tears in his eyes."

 The essence of Elvis may just be the most crucial gift an Elvis Tribute Artist can give his audience. After all, isn't that why Elvis fans flock to a Tribute Artist stage to reveille in a hint of Elvis' immense charisma? And if the Tribute Artist is musically talented, has spent years studying what he longs to recreate, and has even a sliver of Elvis' natural charisma--"by golly"--you've got a show!

Is he Elvis? No. Nobody can be.

And our hearts mourn the loss, even 45 years later (this August). But what if you could close your eyes and find yourselves back in time with the greatest entertainer in the world prowling a stage like a caged tiger?  A time when women cried, and men cheered. When the world laid their love at his feet, and he so graciously accepted that affection, then returned it ten-fold--wasn't that that bond, the uniqueness of Elvis Presley? 

No, my friends, we lost a great man on Aug 16, 1977. Unfortunately, he cannot come back. But we can dream. And entertainers like Shawn Klush are the elixir to our fantasies.  They take us to those special memories, and just like Joe Esposito, we too cherish the moment, touched by a love that lives in our hearts still to this day.

And so, I say to you, that's the real job of an Elvis Tribute Artist--to be that time machine, taking us the year of our choice. 1956. 1968. 1971. 1973. Whatever year it is, there's an Elvis fan studying it. And who knows, one day, he may take a stage, and fans will flock to that missed essence. 

"I wanna grab that guy from Detroit Michigan, who say's he's not an Elvis fan, but they came because so-and-so is. And without them knowing it, they just became one, because you took them to a place that He would have taken them. And that's what makes it all worth while in the end."  ~ Shawn Klush

I couldn't have said it better myself.
Patricia Garber

  • Niagara Falls Elvis Festival:
    April 21st - 24th

    We’re excited to announce that Festival and Weekend Passes for the Niagara Falls Elvis Festival is on sale NOW.
    Six never-before seen shows by ULTIMATE Elvis tribute artists including Shawn Klush, Cody Ray Slaughter, and Dean Z and World Champions Ted Torres and Diogo Light

  • Two-day Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest
  • A gospel show After-hours parties

    All performers will be backed by Canada's premier Elvis band, The Casino Brothers. 

    Don't miss your opportunity to purchase prime seating for an Elvis weekend you’ll never forget! 
    Order your passes online at or call 1 866 870 3002.


  1. This is the first time I've listened to a broadcast. The interview is great. I can't wait to share this interview with others. The Niagara Falls Elvis Festival is going to be a huge event this year. Good Job. As an aside, the word "Niagara" located on the top left of this page is misspelled. :-)

    1. Thank you for reading and (ops) pointing that error out. Appreciate it.

  2. How i wish i 'll see Shawn Klush concert in April. Wish he can do one in Vegas
    I will be there by May 2022. I like his style no more than my Idol Elvis Presley! Good luck Shawn !

  3. Shawn nailed it!! What he said is what a real tribute artist is to us fans. His stage presence and charisma is so much like Elvis that it does take you back in time.. Shawn is one of the all time greatest tribute artist. Blue Suede, you done great on your interview with Shawn. I enjoyed listening to it.Thank you..