HED: Celebrating the King

n Elvis Presley Enterprises 2008 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition Winner Brandon Bennett to celebrate the King’s 74th birthday with Tupelo show

No matter how you take your Elvis, Brandon Bennett can deliver. From 1950s Elvis to ’68 “Comeback Special” Elvis to 1970s Elvis, Bennett can do them all.

“I usually start out with something like That’s Alright, Mama’ and then move through the ’70s, so I’ll do a jumpsuit and a black leather suit,” Bennett said.

His ability to do all Elvises may have been what landed him the title of Elvis Presley Enterprises 2008 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist.

It was his second year to compete in the battle. He went there his first time after winning the Tupelo Elvis Presley Festival’s competition, and went back in 2008 after winning at a casino’s tribute artist battle.

“It was an extreme honor to win it, and there were a lot of talented people involved, and it could’ve been anybody, really,” Bennett. “It’s brought some opportunities my way, so I’m just going to keep going and see where it takes me from here.”

Winning the competition brought some good news to the Louisiana native, but he’ll have to keep the news quiet a few more

weeks. He urged fans to check his Web site, brandonbennettlive.com, to learn the news.

Hometown gig

But for now, Bennett is focusing on his show in Tupelo.

“I try to do something different for every show,” Bennett said. “I’m sure there’ll be a special energy there, being there for the birthday in Tupelo, and you never can tell what I might come out with.”

Because he’ll go through so many periods in the King’s career, he’ll change costumes about five or six times.

“Some of them are kind of quick changes. It’s a very quick thing; I have stuff specially made to do that,” he said. His band, The Heartbreak Orchestra, will perform during his changes.

He said he can’t pick a favorite Elvis tune.

“Something I catch myself doing is saying, This next song is one of my favorites,’ and I’ll say that all night long,” Bennett said. “I have a bunch of different songs that I like, and they come from each era. If I Can Dream,’ I really like that song.”

When Bennett isn’t perfecting his Elvis gig, he’s a family man.

“I love spending time with my kids. My son will turn 3 (soon), and my little girl is 8 months,” he said. “I love to watch football, and I’m also in the fire department here at home. I enjoy playing the guitar.”

His job giving tribute to Elvis keeps him busy, though – especially since winning the Ultimate Tribute Artist competition. So busy, in fact, he hasn’t had time to come up with a 2009 resolution.

“I’m going to be completely content if everything just keeps moving along as it has,” Bennett said. “I’ll be seeing if there are ways I can improve on what I’m already doing, whether it’s songs I put in the show or whatever I’m doing on stage, to try to keep everything exciting for the audience and myself.”

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