Princeton, W.Va.--Elvis Aaron Presley’s first record was a single on Sun Records in 1954 with “That’s All Right” and backed with “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and the recording quickly brought him national attention. And, even four decades after his death, Elvis Presley still remains “The King”—for impersonators.
Few artists can give the inspiration to people all over the world to dress and passionately perform on stage like Presley. Impersonators range from various countries, different generations and even in southern West Virginia. We are fortunate to have our own Elvis among the hills and hollers of West Virginia.
“Being Elvis is more than sideburns and a few dance moves,” says Stoney Trent, Elvis impersonator from McDowell County, West Virginia. For almost ten years, Trent has been traveling around the East Coast providing entertainment, Elvis style. While participating in a motorcycle ride Trent purchased an Elvis jacket from an impersonator and became known to many in the circle as Elvis. While on vacation in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., his dream of performance became a reality. Purchasing a couple of different Elvis “uniforms” and getting them tailored to his specifications really made the ensemble complete. Elvis was reborn.
Trent is never shy of performance and “is always looking for new ventures to entertain.” Trent got his love of performance early on participating in many disco competitions throughout the coalfields in the 1970’s. While residing near Panther, Trent has been delivering his famous lip curl and feels that “he is keeping the legend of Elvis alive and well—have you heard the music that the kids listen to today?” Trent says that fans from little kids to even older ladies are excited when “Suspicious Minds” or “Blue Suede Shoes” begins to play while on stage. Trent likes to work with the crowd and he “loves the reaction of the fans as I work the crowd. You got to get off the stage and get them moving.”
Trent admits that he is disappointed that he never had the chance to see “The King” perform in person, but is happy to report that he has almost every album, recorded live performance and a whole library of books that has helped him continue to be “the King in the Coalfields.” He hasn’t made it to Graceland yet, but considers it to be part of his bucket list.
Trent performs at a wide range of events, private parties and even county fairs. One of his favorite ventures is to perform at convalescence homes in the area, and most residents, even for a brief moment, “enjoy their hour or two with Elvis,” according to Trent. He loves to give the residents teddy bears, while performing “Teddy Bear” to the crowd. Being Elvis is a “true lifestyle.”
Besides paying homage to Presley, Trent will often perform many crowd favorites and songs from other artists such as Conway Twitty, George Jones and even loves performing “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang when not in his Elvis attire. Trent admits he will continue to be Elvis, “as long as he can get out of the holler.”
If you would like to be part of the Elvis experience in Princeton, Diamonds N’ Gold Look at 901 Mercer Street will be hosting an “Elvis and You, One Night Only: Workshop and Party.” Purchase of a ticket will include all supplies needed to complete a painting, with a trained instructor that you can take home, and West Virginia’s own Stoney Trent as Elvis to entertain you while socializing and painting. For more information about this event, call (304) 425-5005 to book your spot, today. Dust off your blue suede shoes, for this will truly be a one-of-a-kind cultural experience in Princeton.