complete tour included 11 stops. There are tours and tastings at all of these stops. We did everything at all of the stops except for the Jim Beam facility in downtown Louisville. The main thing that they had going on at that stop were just tastings. We arrived there late on our first day of the trip with plans to eat a meal and celebrate my son’s birthday in the 4th Street district in downtown Louisville where this facility is located. We moved to the celebration after walking through that shop.
I know plenty of white guys that do a great job of playing the blues. Singing the blues is harder for white people without just trying to sound black. People who know me well know that I enjoy listening to entertainer who don’t really have the chops to perform the type of music they are trying to perform. I came up with the idea that maybe a white guy like me might be able to play the blues right at least some of the time. If B. B. King has the blues every day, maybe I could at least try to have the blues every other day. I also considered that on the days that I don’t have the blues, things would be going pretty good for me. This is the basic idea behind the chorus of the song and established what I would describe in the verses.
While many of my songs are based directly on specific incidents, Cosmetic School Graduation is an exception. I have never fallen in love with anyone that cut my hair and I’ve never gone to a cosmetic school for a cheap haircut. I’ve had several real life experiences that were inspiration for this song. This is the story behind the song.
I was on a business trip and the passenger in a car being driven by a very aggressive driver back in early 2014. I was surfing the internet on my phone to keep me distracted from the driving and I read a story about someone they called the Pennsylvania Swiss Cheese pervert. In the suburbs of Philadelphia, there was a man pulling up to traffic lights offering money to women that would help him do nasty things to him with slices of Swiss cheese. There were pictures of a suspect sitting in a car, naked from the waist down and dangling slices of Swiss cheese in the air. In some of the reports they said this person also fit the description of someone in the area that had been reported to be on dating sites with similar interest in cheese. On the Facebook page for the town watch group for the neighborhood where he had been spotted, they referred to him as the Pennsylvania Swiss Cheese Pervert.
Most of you probably know that the little boy in the picture on the cover of the Elvis Week album is my son, James. This picture was taken at the candlelight vigil in 2003. It was my second year to go to Graceland for Elvis Week and the first year to take my son. When I went in 2002 with my friend Terry, we arrived too late to take a tour of the house. Also in 2002, we waited too late to get in the line to go to the gravesite after the candlelight vigil ceremony. When I took my son in 2003, I knew we would need more to do during the day to keep my 8-year-old son entertained. I went online weeks before the trip and booked the full tour of the house and all other exhibits on the property. The trip with my son would be the first time that I did the house tour and the first time to get the full experience of the candlelight vigil line and gravesite visit.
The song Lucy is based on some of my experiences from the first grade. I started first grade in 1968. Kids in my school would usually wear nice clothes to school every day. Occasionally, the girls would wear dresses. One day some of the boys in the class were talking about a specific girl that wore a dress and she had a hole in her panties. One of the guys claimed to have actually seen it. This discussion started while we had some free time in the class. It was suggested that we start crawling under the table to look. Someone even said we should crawl between the legs of the chair. The chairs in our classroom looked much like the one in the picture below. It would be impossible for the smallest kid in our class to successfully do this and go undetected. Needless to say, no one ever crawled under the table or the chair. We never confirmed this rumor.
Footprints is a song that might benefit from explanation. It is based on a dream that I had as a child. I don’t remember how young I was when I had this dream. I also don’t remember if it was a recurring dream or one that made a huge stamp on my memory. It is a dream that I have shared many times over the years and seemed like it was a perfect subject for a song.
It was early March of this year and I had decided to release a set of songs. This group of songs would be called Elvis Week and I planned to release it in July. I still needed to record a few of them but I had a good idea of what I wanted to do with all of them except one. I was in our bedroom getting dressed before going to work. The television was on and we were watching “Good Morning America”. The show was about to go to a commercial break and they had a brief promotion about a story they were going to cover when they came back. That story was about a court case involving professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. Hogan had sued a website called Gawker for posting a sex video of him and his best friend’s wife. I really wasn’t that interested the details about the lawsuit. On the screen, GMA was showing footage of Hogan on the stand in the courtroom. They also had a graphic that said, “Hulk Hogan Goes To Court”. As I went back into our master bathroom to continue getting ready for work, I sang the phrase, “Hulk Hogan Goes to Court”. My wife was in the bathroom and laughed. I continued to repeat the phrase. Soon my wife became annoyed. Then I sang the phrase “Swearin’ to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothin’ but the truth!”
You probably already know that I go to the candlelight vigil at Graceland on August 15 every year. I started going back in 2002 and have gone every year since then. People-watching is the primary reason for my trips. While I am an Elvis fan, I don’t think I am the typical fan that you run into yearly at Elvis Week. Over the years, I have become more of a fan of the candlelight vigil and Elvis Week than I am an actual Elvis fan. I enjoy meeting people from around the world, talking to them and hearing their Elvis stories, and seeing how the event has changed over the years. Living an hour away makes it possible for me to easily do this each year. When I was getting ready to go on the trip last year, my wife challenged me to write a song about my trips. She has never gone with me, but seems to enjoy the stories that I bring home. She felt that they were interesting enough to write a song that would generate wide interest.
They're holding a candlelight vigil
For a man that died many years ago
But I'm going to Memphis on August 15th
Go and be part of the show
Memphis in August is hotter than hell
And Graceland gets busy as crowds start to swell
But if you go one time I think that you'll see
That on August 15th there's nowhere else to be
Would you go to Elvis week with me?
Would you go to Elvis Week to see
Thousands of fans
With candles in their hands
Singing I can't help falling
In love with you
If you want to go for just a day
When they ask you, you can truly say
You have been to see
Elvis week with me
In a tent where performers sing Elvis' songs
Stands a kid in a jumpsuit who's got it all wrong
He don't look like Elvis, He don't sing that good
But he shakes and he dances just like Elvis would
On American Trilogy the audience stands
And reaches for scarves he holds out in his hand
He sings with a CD instead of a band
And on August 15th he has hundreds of fans
There are celebrities that you might see
Maybe Priscilla or Lisa Marie
One of his friends or maybe his cook
Or Dr. Nicopolus signing his book
Touring the house that the singer made famous
The audio guide is the voice of John Stamos
Leaving some flowers on top of his grave
Buying some gifts that for years you will save
Elvis shirts and Elvis pants
Elvis mugs and Elvis hats
Elvis lighters and Elvis ties
Elvis toys and Elvis knives
Elvis sideburns Elvis hair
Elvis cups and Elvis chairs
Elvis ashtrays, Elvis books
Elvis glasses for Elvis looks
Art Wheeler © 2016
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller