Portraying Elvis

Austin, Ind., Elvis tribute artist to appear in documentary on The King

He will join other artists in the film, due out in January

AUSTIN, Ind. (July 2016) – Dressed in the signature white jumpsuit, an eagle emblazoned across the back in rhinestones, Travis Albertson will soon be seen on theater marques across the country. Albertson, from Austin, Ind., has been featured in the RoundAbout several times throughout the years, highlighting his adventures as he shares his musical tribute to Elvis.
Selected among hundreds of Elvis Tribute Artists, he will become the “face” of a new documentary written and directed by Florin Marksteiner focusing on the musical legend that is Elvis as well as the huge industry that has been built around the legend. Following a handful of tribute artists, the film will capture what drives them to keep the legend alive.

Photo provided

Travis Albertson of Austin, Ind., has become a much sought after Elvis tribute artist in recent years.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the documentary and truly honored to have been chosen to appear on the movie posters and DVD covers,” said Albertson, 46.
Marksteiner inherited the project from another producer who, due to personal issues, had to withdraw. His vision is to shine a light on the non-tabloid side of Elvis through the eyes of the people who knew him well and the tribute artists who keep him alive. The film will focus on his dedication to his music, his perfectionism (for example, he recorded “Hound Dog” more than 50 times before he was happy with a version), and his devotion to his fans.
Albertson was the first to respond to a call for tribute artists for the documentary. And, according to Marksteiner, “It was a divine connection.  Travis is a true gentleman and personifies the qualities of Elvis I wanted to portray. He is generous, always smiling and willing to spend time with his fans.”
It was even noted that Albertson drives a pink Cadillac.
Initial filming and a photo shoot with Albertson took place earlier this year at the Lion’s Lincoln Theater in Massillon, Ohio. The theater will play host to the documentary premier, scheduled for Jan. 8, 2017, which would have been Elvis’ 82nd birthday.
It is Marksteiner’s goal to have Elvis Fan Clubs all over the World to be part of the premier by offering them access to the film to be shown in sync with the debut in Ohio.

Photo provided

Albertson will appear in an upcoming documentary on The King.

Describing the photo shoot as both exciting and sometimes boring (“I had to stand for hours as they changed images on the green screen projected behind me.”), Albertson and his wife, Erica, speak very highly of Marksteiner and his willingness to share the technical side of producing a documentary.
“It was exciting to see how Florin worked together with Travis to help accomplish his vision for the film,” explained Erica Albertson. “I even got to work the camera during one of the interviews.”
Marksteiner and his crew will follow Albertson for three days in July, including a visit to B&K Enterprises in Charleston, Ind. They are the creators of the authentic reproductions of the King’s stage costumes worn by Albertson. Filming will culminate with his 7 p.m. performances at the Scott County, Ind., Courthouse Square on July 22 as part of the Annual Mater Fest.
Singing since he was a young child, Albertson has focused on Elvis since 1996, however, he still gets nervous performing in front of people who knew Elvis or had the pleasure of seeing him perform.
“Elvis did something no other artist of his time could do. We were coming out of World War II, and music in American had not changed for generations. He took blues, southern gospel and country, combined them and made a sound that changed a generation” explained Albertson. “His good looks, magnetism and showmanship helped make it possible.”
“There are still so many people around who knew and loved Elvis,” added Erica. “They come to hear Travis because they want to share the happy experiences from their youth with their children and grandchildren. Tribute artists like Travis help them keep those happy memories alive.”
Travis and Erica met in high school, but it was not until after graduation that they connected, through his sister. Eventually started dating. They have three adult children, a daughter, Lillian, and two sons, Jesse and Kurtlin. Although they often tired of being on the road, Erica said she believes the experiences they had helped teach her children manners and how to be polite and respectful. Jesse has taught himself to play guitar, just like his father, and given the right encouragement will sing an Elvis song or two.
Erica handles the management side of the business, from booking shows to contracts to managing the accounts.  Recently, she has begun to sew costumes and scarves for teddy bears that Travis then distributes from the stage or during benefit concerts for children.
The couple have on occasion found themselves in a sea of “Elvises.”
“We were at an Elvis tribute festival in Hickory Hills, Ill., and I had never seen so many tribute artists,” Travis said. “I told Erica she better hold on to my hand or she might end up with the wrong Elvis.”
One funny experience occurred with a tribute artist from Japan who didn’t speak English except the words to the Elvis songs that he performed.
Another strange experience occurred when Travis was jumped by four women who had attended his concert while his bodyguard just stood by and laughed. “My wife had warned me about the women before the show, but I just shrugged it off. I should have listened to her. I guess women can just tell things about other women,” he said.

Collectible, limited edition DVDs of the documentary, which includes interviews with people who knew Elvis as well as other and tribute artists not featured in the film, is available for pre-order. The DVD and other memorabilia can be found online at www.gofundme.com/elvisdocumentary or through Facebook at Elvis: the Legend Continues.

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