Elvis Week Blog 1 - 3 New and Noteworthy Not-to-Miss Events

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Welcome to the official blog of Elvis Presley’s Graceland! You can take Elvis-inspired quizzes, get first-looks on events here at Graceland and how-to guides on everything you need to know about Elvis and his home. Like Elvis, we come with a little southern charm

Elvis Week Blog 1 - 3 New and Noteworthy Not-to-Miss Events


To quote Elvis’s “All Shook Up,” right about now “I’m itchin’ like a man on a fuzzy tree.” My seventh time around as Elvis Week blogger has me coming down with a seven year itch of another kind, one with excitement and anticipation for the ultimate Elvis-themed celebration. And I’ll get relief by diving head first into all Elvis Week has to offer.

The challenge? Elvis Presley Enterprises and Graceland have a whopping line-up of events and attractions on tap, more than one blogger can soak up across 10 days. Think mansion tours, live concerts and interviews, Elvis-themed excursions, rocking parties, fan interaction, the incomporable Candlelight Vigil, and more. Check out the full schedule here and download the Elvis Week app

Yes, the list of activities can be an overwhelming amount of Elvis action. Yet I’m up for the task of documenting and dishing as much as I can for the duration. Visit the blog each day for event previews and coverage, backstage interviews and more.

3 New & Noteworthy Not-to-Miss Events

Joining longtime Elvis Week traditions are several happenings dropping for the first time, too many to cover in one blog. Some are intimiate and free, such as Elvis karaoke and trivia in the Graceland Exhibition Center. Other massive all-star shows on the Graceland Soundstage demand attention, including the 1969 50th Anniversary Concert - Elvis Returns to Vegas and the American Sound 50th Annivesary Celebration Concert.

With so much going on, it’s easy to miss some amazing gems. Here are three debut attractions I suggest tacking onto your Elvis Week itinerary:

Ultimate Elvis Week After-Parties

Nearly a decade ago, entertainer Jeff Lewis began hosting Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest after-parties during Elvis Week. For 2019, this one-of-kind jam session concert and fan favorite experience sets up shop on the Graceland campus for the first time. The impromptu rave ups feature rotating players and performers, including award-winning Elvis tribute artists, Elvis Week celebs, and notable Memphis musicians. You never know who might take the stage. Each night the set list comes to life organically, a surprise after every downbeat. Elvis tunes, classic rock, soul, country cuts, and more are fair game. And Lewis wrangles the proceedings with a stand-up comic wit and booming pipes. Elvis Week fans get three chances to rip it up with Lewis and company. Shows take place at the Graceland Exhibition Center immediately following tonight’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Semifinal Round; the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Final Round (Aug. 10); and the Ultimate Return (Aug. 11). A ticket to each event includes access to the respective after-party. Check out tomorrow’s blog for a behind-the-scenes look at the after-parties and an interview with Lewis.

Elvis: The Rocker Starring Dean Z

The distinction of being an Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest winner carries seroius cache and rightfully so. Dean Z manages to transcend that thanks to his near limitless breadth of talent. Why he doesn’t have his own Vegas residency goes beyond comprehension. A list of the guy’s skills couldn’t fit on both sides of a business card. He’s a versatile vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, graphic designer, video editor, show producer, and that’s just the beginning. All of that and more converge in this show. Not all Elvis fans appreciate the tribute artist genre, but Elvis: The Rocker attempts to bridge that gap. The show skips impersonation in favor of interpretation with Dean taking his sincere, lifelong passion for Elvis and translating it in his own way onto the stage and into the now. The audience will be the first to see this original production, which marks Dean’s first solo Elvis Week performance. Elvis: The Rocker rocks beginning 7 p.m. August 12 at the Graceland Sounstage. Get tickets here and read an exclusive interview with Dean on the blog August 11.   

Ronnie Milsap

This Country Music Hall of Famer has a rich Elvis-related history. Milsap makes his Elvis Week debut with a live interview the morning of August 13 and a solo concert later that evening. At 10 a.m., Milsap will be part of the American Sound Studio Panel at the Graceland Soundstage. Along with B.J. Thomas, members of the Memphis Boys, and others who lent a hand in those legendary sessions, Milsap will share colorful studio stories and other Elvis memories. His 7 p.m. concert finds Milsap stepping into the Graceland Soundstage spotlight. I’m crossing fingers he revisits a pair of American Sound Studio cuts he played on: “Kentucky Rain” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.”  He’ll likely mimic thunder on the piano when delving into “Smokey Mountain Rain,” his own “Kentucky Rain” homage, which remains one of his most requested songs today. Ronnie Milsap concert tickets can be found here, and the show is part of the ongoing Graceland Live concert series. These live shows plug in at the Soundstage throughout the year. Visit GracelandLive.com for a list of upcoming shows ranging from Brian Setzer with special guest James Burton (Aug. 21) to Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues (Nov. 1.)

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