New Elvis Album
October 20, 2010 | Reviews
A few years back, we found a rental car company that didn’t charge extra for mileage and proceeded to make them rethink that policy by striking out on an impromptu 1,300 mile trip from Toronto to New Orleans with a couple of buddies. En route, we took in the best of what the southern US has to offer: happily clogging arteries with their delicious early-grave food, spending more than one late night boozing it up on Nashville’s main strip, and also doing the tourist guidebook stuff that involved sites near and dear to our hearts like the Jack Daniels distillery in the unfortunately named Lynchburg and Johnny Cash’s house in Hendersonville Tennessee.
We were disappointed to see that the latter was closed to the public upon our arrival and not just because JC was dead, but heartened when we saw a sign across the street for something called “Trinity Music City, USA”. Alas, this enthusiasm was premature. “Trinity Music City, USA” is what Conway Twitty’s Xanadu-like compound “Twitty City” was renamed when the Christian Trinity Broadcasting Company overtook it following the death of the great man – known for southern Lolita favorites like “You’ve never Been This far Before” – on a tour bus in 1993.
The resulting renovations to the compound are the stuff that nightmares are made of with Christian movies like “The Omega Code” (“Not just a movie, a miracle”) playing on a continual loop, giant statues of winged angels throughout and souvenirs available at a place called the “Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh Bible Book Store”. (We confess to having purchased multiple “Bible Bars”, chocolate-bar shaped concoctions with the dubious claim of having been based on a recipe from the bible). Conway Twitty’s legacy is not lost here; cardboard cutouts of him and the missus smiling at intervals throughout his mansion are sure to give you the creeps long after you’ve sped out of the parking lot.
Leaving there and with the Dollywood Pigeon Forge city limits too far away, we decided to further indulge our appetites for all things garish and unsettling east of Las Vegas with a stop at Graceland, where on the back-end of a 2,600 mile sojourn we found the idea of coughing up an extra $20 plus to see Elvis’s collection of cars anticlimactic to say the least after having literally breathed in the 1970s thanks to the shag carpet dust from the walls of his “Jungle Room”. The conclusion to the tour, with a stop at the King’s grave, was worth the price of admission though; giving us as it did the chance to quote from “This is Spinal Tap” by humming a few bars of “Heartbreak Hotel” and saying that this “Puts it all into perspective… Too much f*cking perspective!”
These days, the King’s legend lives on in places outside of Graceland with his impersonators keeping the dream alive around the world and through the various and seemingly endless posthumous reworkings of his music. Now, the King’s voice has been mixed in with new musical accompaniment featuring novel electric guitar backup, keyboards, scratch and a horn section. The producer incorporated elements such as punk and even hip-hop (we’re guessing not snippets of Fight the Power…”Elvis was a hero to most/ But he never meant shit to me.”) into the classic recordings. He even included ragga (which would not have been welcome to the purists in Spinal Tap again: “it sounds like f*cking raga”).
The modern elements were meant to ”boost the emotional charge” and it goes without saying we are suspicious-minded.