A hunka, hunka burnin' bush

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September 1, 2016 12:00 AM

The Blackwood Quartet will be taking the stage at the Vic Juba Community Theatre on Sept. 14 where they'll treat guests to the Gospel Side of Elvis. The performance also includes an appearance by Roger Anderson, award winning Elvis tribute artist, who'll sing a few numbers dressed as the King.

Local Elvis Presley fans should mark Sept. 14 on their calendars because the Blackwood Quartet is coming to town and bringing the spirit of the King.
The show, called the Gospel Side of Elvis, sees the Blackwood Quartet go through 15 of Presley’s gospel-themed songs with a guest appearance by Roger Anderson, an award winning Elvis tribute performer.
“They can expect to hear great stories about Elvis and his life and they can expect to hear great music sung by Roger Anderson and ourselves and have a good time,” said Mark Blackwood, vocalist and last remaining Blackwood of the quartet.
“We’re going to sing them happy and they’re going to love the show.”
Blackwood had close ties to the King and his family having grown up two doors down from the icon in Lauderdale Courts in Memphis, TN.
He said he knew Presley from the neighbourhood as well as church and Blackwood’s father, a former member of the quarter himself, even went to Sunday school with him at the First Assembly Church in their hometown.
According to Blackwood, this is where both Presley and Blackwood Sr. fell in love with Gospel music.
“They fell in love with this type of music that we’ll be singing when we’re up there; Elvis always wanted to be a gospel singer, he won three Grammy awards for his gospel records, so that’s the type of music that we do and our quartet has been singing it since 1934,” said Blackwood.
“My grandfather started the group and I’m the third generation keeping it going.”
The original quartet was made up of Blackwood’s grandfather and uncles, who have all since passed away, then his father took the reigns for 46 years, and now Blackwood carries the torch with three other trusted vocalists.
Blackwood said fans of the group tell him the performances take them back to a happier time in their lives and help many to reminisce about their childhoods.
People unfamiliar with the music love it because of the simplicity, he said, and honesty of four guys singing a tight, close harmony that’s relatable.
“When you combine that with Elvis, it just gives people a double blessing, a reason to like this music.”
Over the decades the Blackwood Family has won more than nine Grammy Awards, 27 Dove Awards, and sold more than 60 million albums.
They’ve also performed in 47 countries and have been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame for all their efforts.
Anyone looking to catch the show can take it in at the Vic Juba Community Theatre at 7:30 p.m on Sept. 14.

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