Elvis Brought People Together, And So Does His Biggest Fan

Elvis Brought People Together, And So Does His Biggest Fan

“Elvis sang from his soul and captured the whole world.”
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Whether you know him by his eccentric jumpsuits, cool cat cars, or smooth baritone vocal chops, Elvis Presley’s memory is still very much alive even decades after his death. He started as a nobody with Sun Records, went on to record over 800 songs, and earned himself the prestigious title of “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

One of his devoted, and perhaps youngest, fan is Amanda Lyn, a local rockabilly artist. What exactly is 'rockabilly,' you ask? She describes it as an early form of rock 'n' roll, merging '40s and '50s country western music with gospel and R&B from African American traditions. "It broke down racial barriers that existed in music in the South during the 1950s.” Amanda’s work is directly inspired by this style including artists like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and more.

Being in her early 20s, I was curious how she found such an admiration for such a role model. She was simply curious, describing her fascination as a ‘snowball effect.’ She attended her first Elvis Festival a few years ago and coincidentally met a couple who eventually hired her as a backup singer for Colorado concerts (pictured above) featuring Cody Ray Slaughter, Graceland's 2011 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist. She came to learn a saying: “If you’re an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary. If you’re not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible.”

Amanda Lyn gushed about Elvis Presley’s genuine heart and inspiring attitude. “Pretty much all the odds were stacked against him. He was poor, had no formal training in music, and was driving a truck for a living when he hit it big… The crazy thing was he didn’t set out to be a rebel, he did it just by being himself.” His charisma and voice caught Sun Studio’s attention and his provocative dance moves and incorporation of black music challenged what society called normal.

She praised the connections and friendships she has found in the Elvis community. Inspired by Elvis’s ability to bring all kinds of people together with music, Amanda Lyn collaborated with other musicians to help bring her musical stylings to life (pictured below): Matt Juliano (mandolin) and Justin Braun (percussion) are members of a local acoustic Americana band called Beemo, and myself (upright bass). Vital to the process was Wholehearted Productions, the studio responsible for the recording and post-production aspects of the process.

I picked the rest of the band’s brains about their experience working with Amanda and her unique style of music. Justin felt that “playing with Amanda was like stepping into a time machine. Her stylistic choices transport both performer and listener to the time of early rock and roll’s apex.” Matt, who has partnered with her for numerous live performances, came from a bluegrass and orchestral background. “I wanted to adapt [rockabilly] for the mandolin in an attempt to stretch myself.” Both guys and myself were thoroughly impressed and delighted to be involved.

Particularly inspired by the work done at Sun Studio in Memphis, Amanda decided to have one song on the E.P. be a live take with an accompanying music video. Nowadays, studios record each instrument separately to create literally perfect tracks. But as you may have realized, Amanda doesn’t care for following the norm. “I felt like it would be a cool challenge to try to do it like they did it back in 1955.” A surprise to the modern studio, Amanda actually wanted the imperfections of a live recording. “Elvis was pre-autotune and pre-photoshop. He just really was that good and that gorgeous!” When comparing the differences of recording technologies, she said “Sometimes I feel like the soul of the music is edited out. In the old recordings, you can feel the energy in the room, and I wanted to give people a taste of that on my E.P..” That live recording experience was where she and her musicians felt the real magic of her homage to Elvis Presley and similar artists of the time.

We all shared plenty of laughs and lessons learning how to help enhance her music. Matt says, “The main thing I learned about Elvis from working with Amanda is that he's really good. I understand the hubbub.’" Her E.P., Timeless, includes six original songs that follow her personal path of finding love with a cowboy. It will be available on all digital streaming sites and on her website this June.
Cover Image Credit: Brandon Ranger

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The End Of The Semester As Told By Todd Chrisley

Because we're all a little dramatic like Todd sometimes.
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The last 3-4 weeks of every college student’s semester are always crazy hectic. We have last minute assignments, group projects, and exams all squeezed into the last few weeks before break.

Sometimes we all need a little humor, and sometimes we are all a little dramatic, so why not experience the last few weeks of the semester as told by the king of drama himself, Todd Chrisley of Chrisley Knows Best.

1. Sitting in class listening to your professor explain upcoming assignments/exams.

2. When your group project members refuse to do anything until the night before it's due or just show up the day of to present.


3. When you and your roommate try to cook with whatever few ingredients you have left in stock.

Because we definitely want to avoid going to the grocery store at the end of the semester if we can.

4. When your parents get tired of you calling them about every little inconvenience in your life.

5. Sitting down to work on assignments.


6. Your thoughts when the professor is telling you what they want from you out of an assignment.


7. When you've had about 30 mental breakdowns in 2 days.

8. Trying to search out the class for the right group members.

9. The last few days of classes where everyone and everything is getting on your nerves.

10. When your friend suggests going out but you're just done with the world.

11. This. On the daily.

12. When all you want to do is snuggle up and watch Christmas movies.


13. Studying and realizing you know nothing.


14. When your finals are over and it's finally time to go home for break.


You're finally back to your old self.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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The Breath of Solitude

A Poem With A Prologue // Polar Viewpoints.

mccall
mccall
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Prologue:


She smacks your parted lips,

sucking the dry,

open cracks to a seal.

Pumping energy into your chest

and sending a continuous shiver

from lung to navel.


You can't help but cough,

as your lungs tighten and twist.

Ringing the frosty sensation out –

slipping through your parted lips.


The same parted lips that

allowed her deliberate fingers

to crawl inside

where she can escape her own dimension

of solitude.




The Breath of Solitude


All I know

is solitude.


We chat

every day

in conversations that circulate

behind the backs

of the present.


Solitude grinds my coffee beans,

as we sit

with our legs crossed,

waiting for dawn

to explode over our opaque landscape.


Solitude runs my bath,

bubbling

as the Sun crashes

against the diminishing horizon.


But none of this is reality.

I am above

the dimension of reality.

Not theoretically,

but physically.

I am only a tool

to be used in the dimension

of your reality.

Drifting in and out,

twirling through your negative space.

My only purpose

is found through your breath;

but what do I do

when you stop breathing?


I wait for your fingers,

less deliberate than mine,

but filled with that

that I lack.


I cannot see the blood

that sloshes through the veins

in your innocent hands.

The blood that energizes

those fingers

upon which I wait.


But I know

the blood is there.

It isn't

what you do.

It isn't

the way you move.

Simply put,

it is

the way

that you exist.


The sheer fact

that you have a bursting burgundy waterfall

streaming,

not only through your fingers,

but engulfing all of you

in its rich,

rooted,

energy.


The only waterfall

that I encompass

is the waterfall

that you imagine.

I have no blood;

I have no way to exist.


And so I

wait for your fingers,

less deliberate than mine,

but filled with that

that I lack.


I wait for your fingers

to filter the heat

to a state of regulation,

a state of production,

a state in which I can exist.

The peach fuzz

that sleeps on the bridge of your nose

begins to rise

when your fingers initiate the flame.

The temperature reacts,

as would my heartbeat,

if I had a bursting burgundy waterfall,

or some type of life source

inhabiting my chest cavity.


As the heat

starts to melt

my metaphorical skin,

I become reality.

I don't have a face to smile,

or eyes to produce tears.

But I have thoughts.

I have words to say,

I have feelings to express.


I still can only drift,

in and out,

twirling through your negative space,

but now spiraling

into your positive space,

as well.


mccall
mccall

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