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Famous Sun Records trio to perform at Strand Theatre

“The King, The Killer and the Man in Black” returns Saturday night to the Strand Theatre in downtown Shelbyville. A trio of performers — (from left) Brad McCrady as Elvis Presley, Terry Lee Ridley as Jerry Lee Lewis and Frank Hamilton as Johnny Cash — will sing hit songs from the early Sun Records days in Memphis, Tennessee.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

A child of the ’80s, Brad McCrady enjoys living in the ’50s.

On Saturday night at the Strand Theatre in Shelbyville, McCrady will perform once again as Elvis Presley in “The King, The Killer, and the Man in Black.”

“I’ve been a fan of Elvis ever since I could walk and talk,” said McCrady via telephone interview. “My parents played his records. Then I wanted to be Elvis for Halloween.”

McCrady started performing Elvis songs at talent shows in school and never stopped. Now he tours the region paying tribute to “The King.”

In his return trip to the Strand Theatre, McCrady will perform classic Elvis Presley songs from his early days as a Sun Records recording artist. Terry Lee Ridley will follow with Jerry Lee Lewis songs and Frank Hamilton will wrap up the first part of the concert with Johnny Cash songs. All three will be backed by a 3-piece rockabilly band of Will Weigand, Kenneth Kimbrell and Dave Johnson, who are based out of the Cincinnati area.

“I think the Strand is wonderful,” said McCrady. “I’ve traveled around and been at subpar facilities. The Strand is well maintained and seems to have good community support. It’s a great venue.”

After a brief intermission, “The King, The Killer and the Man in Black” will then perform together meshing three unique performance styles into one interesting musical experience.

“The combination is magic on stage. It’s hard to describe,” said McCrady, who, by day, is an investment representative at a credit union in Evansville, Ind.

McCrady points out the concert is not three acts impersonating the artists. While each has his own look specific to the entertainer, the focus is on the music – not the look.

“We focus more on sound than the look,” said McCrady.

McCrady has been married for eight years and has a 4-year-old daughter he swears is not named Lisa Marie. She loves the show and is already a big fan of Elvis Presley despite being born nearly 40 years after his death.

“She thinks it is cool,” he said. “When she sees me she knows it’s me. It’s still a little confusing seeing daddy in regular clothes then dressed as Elvis. She knows when I’m in ‘show mode.’”

Sun Records, created in 1952 in Memphis, Tennessee, came to prominence in the 1950s as rockabilly grew and the term “rock-n-roll” was born.

“I like everything about performing as Elvis,” said McCrady. “It’s fun performing music not performed much anymore. I get to become a rock star for a little while.”

Despite the uproar the trio caused with their original performances in the conservative 1950s, McCrady insists the show is family-friendly. 

“It’s a lot of good fun with a variety of music from rock-n-roll to country to gospel,” he said. “It’s good for all ages.”

Tickets are still available at the Strand Theatre, 215 S. Harrison St. on the night of the show. Or online, go to m.bpt.me/event/3574475.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.