Lunch-N-Learn – Discovering Elvis: Tracing Traditions to the Soul of the King

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Earl Scruggs Center
103 S. Lafayette Street
Shelby, North Carolina 28150
Visit Website

Join North Carolina Humanities Council Scholar Billy Stevens for his presentation of “Discovering Elvis: Tracing Traditions to the Soul of the King.”

The story of the discovery and rise to fame of this teenager from Tupelo parallels the musical interaction between black and white communities defining American popular music from the early 1800s to the present day. Through background information on his youth, along with the important contributions of renegade Memphians such as Dewey and Sam Phillips, Billy Stevens puts the social and historic context of Elvis’ remarkable success into perspective. Examples of his earliest recordings, contrasted with the versions sung by the original artists, makes clear the way in which Elvis transformed earlier genres, both African and Anglo American, into a new style acceptable to young white audiences of the 1950s. As a symbol of the ultimate failure of a social system designed to prevent close interracial contact, Elvis’ music is a potent example of the deep debt America owes to black/white dialogue and cultural exchange. The result is a new understanding of Elvis’ fabled success, illustrating perfectly the pattern of cultural confluence upon which our popular music is based.

Billy Stevens has extensive international touring experience sponsored by the US Information Agency of the Department of State. He has presented his lecture/demonstration “The History of the Blues: the Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll” in more than 40 countries including India, Kenya, Israel and Palestine as well as in North and South Carolina. Stevens has many years experience as a solo artist with a variety of bands. In addition to being a musician and lecturer, he is a world champion carrom player and founder of the United States Carrom Association. His master’s degree is from the University of Mississippi.

This project is made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Register online!

Cost: FREE
Contact: Adrienne Nirde
Contact Phone: 7044876233
Contact Email: [email protected]

Loading Map....