|Posted by Luke Stroud on June 28, 2013 at 12:55 AM|
The 34th Annual Cave City Watermelon Festival kicks off Thursday with Rockin' Luke LeWolfe Stroud & the Fifties Beat opening the show at 6 p.m. in the Cave City Park, said Charles Landers, chairman of the watermelon festival committee.
"We've had people calling from all over the state call us to see when he's gonna play," Landers said, plus fans from Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi have also shown up in the past to see the piano player's show.
A multi-vehicle delegation from the Blytheville area, where Cave City resident Jimmy Lee was raised, is expected to attend, Lee said.
Stroud, from Cave City, is a 1950s style piano player/vocalist who performs songs from a range of other decades and artists as well.
He is most notable for his piano-pounding Jerry Lee Lewis tunes and has previously performed at Elvis Week in Memphis as a Jerry Lee tribute artist, according to an Aug. 6 article from the Batesville Daily Guard.
Stroud's band includes Marcus Grady of Thida on lead guitar, Bill Lewis of Newport on bass guitar, and Mike Giovannangeli of Searcy on drums.
Stroud and his band will rock the stage for one and a half hours.
Following them will be Jeannie and the Guys, a band Stroud is a part of when it plays weekly on Saturday nights at the Silver Moon dance hall in Newport. Zyndall Raney will sit in on keyboard for Stroud during Jeannie and the Guys' segment of the watermelon festival show.
Band leader Jeannie Hendrix is on drums and vocals, Grady is on lead guitar and vocals, Lewis plays bass guitar and Doug Greeno of Weiner is also on vocals.
The Silver Moon is a no alcohol, no smoking dance hall.
Special guest Donna Lewis will join the group onstage occasionally to perform country songs made famous over the years.
Jeannie and the Guys is known as a dance band, so the group will perform a wide variety of music, including 1950s and '60s rock 'n' roll, country, Southern rock and waltzes, plus Greeno will sing some blues.
The band will play from 8-10 p.m. with a break about 9:15 for a drawing for vendor's prizes. A $200 cash prize will be drawn at 10, but the ticket-holder must be present to win.
--Written by Larry Stroud, parts of which were taken from the Batesville Daily Guard newspaper from Aug. 6.
Here is a little bit more about Rockin' Luke LeWolfe Stroud from his bio --
Rockin' Luke Stroud is a flamboyant rockabilly piano player and vocalist in the early rock'n'roll styling of Jerry Lee Lewis with his band the Fifties Beat.
He was born in Newport, AR a hot bed for early rock'n'roll. He taught himself to play piano after he was inspired by the music he heard on a Jerry Lee Lewis cassette tape that his father brought home when he was 9. Luke pantomimed on a broken piano for years until his parents bought him one that worked in March 1995. Five months later Rockin' Luke performed a 17 minute medley of Jerry Lee songs at the local Cave City Watermelon Festival.
Stroud is a fan of the Sun Record label from Memphis, Tennessee and often will perform songs from the heyday of early rock'n'roll including numbers by Sun Alumni Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Sonny Burgess as well as Hank Williams. His explosive presentation of songs includes hits such as “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On” and also some lesser known Lewis numbers such as“Hadacol Boogie” (which is on Lewis' album, “Last Man Standing” from 2006 which placed #4 on Billboards Country album charts) and “Why Should I Cry Over You.” Stroud is a Sun Records (Sun Entertainment Holding Corporation) stockholder, meaning he owns a piece of some of the famous songs he performs.
Stroud's musical influences include Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Sonny Burgess, Billy Lee Riley, Chuck Berry and Ricky Nelson, among others. In the late '90s, he recorded an album entitled “Just Me & My Piano” at Raney Recording Studio at Drasco, AR which is no longer in production.
He was featured as part of the Lost in the '50s shows produced around Arkansas in the late '90s by Melody Ranch Productions.
He has been performing since the age of 15 at festivals, fairs, public schools, restaurants, and other venues including Branson and Forsyth, Missouri.
Festivals Stroud has performed at in Arkansas include the past 17 Cave City Watermelon Festivals and close to as many Sulphur Rock Trolley Car Day festivals, as well as the McCrory Mosquito Fest, PortFest at Jacksonport, Newark's TNT Festival, Pleasant Plains' Plainsman's Days, Caldwell's Cotton Pickin' Fest, Strawberry Fest in Lawrence County, the Rice Festival at Weiner, the Sharp County Fair, the Citizen's Bank Independence Day Celebration in Batesville, Newport's Depot Days, the Rock'n'Roll Highway 67 Music Festival in Pocahontas and has also performed at Josie's Lockhouse in Batesville. Stroud hasperformed at the Evening Shade School, Cave City School, Clinton School and Batesville Southside School and has played shows in the towns of Cushman, Amagon, Pfeiffer, Hardy, Trumann, Jonesboro and Little Rock.
Stroud is a performer at the Silver Moon family dance on Saturday nights with the Jeannie and the Guys band at Newport, AR and has opened shows for Mickey Gilley, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and Sonny Burgess & the Pacers.
Stroud also has been a guest performer numerous times on Sonny Burgess &the Pacers' shows, including one at Bally's Casino at Tunica, MS and one show where Sonny was performing in Jonesboro. Jerry Lee Lewis' bass player BB Cunningham was at this show and performed with Stroud for a few songs.
Stroud performed on the historic stage of the Louisiana Hayride at Shreveport, LA in 2008.
Stroud was the last performer at the tribute held in memory of Sun Records Alumni Billy Lee Riley in 2009 backed by the band Jeannie and the Guys. He was pictured in the international magazine “Blue Suede News” for his contribution to this event.
Stroud performed with Burgess & the Pacers at the Vaden Records 50th Anniversary show at Trumann in 2010. Also Performing at that event was Bobby Brown, Joyce Green, Teddy Reidel, Larry Donn, Chuck Comer and Sonny Burgess & the Pacers. Stroud was again pictured in “Blue Suede News” magazine for his contribution to this event.
Stroud has performed on shows that have also featured: Carl Mann, Sleepy LaBeef, W. S. Holland (Johnny Cash's drummer), J.M.VanEaton (Sun studio staff musician), Dale Hawkins, Travis Wammack, JR Rogers, Smoochy Smith, Ben Jones (Cooter from the Dukes of Hazzard), Ace Cannon, the Derailers and Mike Snider.
Stroud has been a sit-in guest performer on two occasions at Blues City Cafe on Beale Street in Memphis and also performed at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, AR in 2013.
Perhaps Stroud's website, rockinluke.com, best tells his story and serves as a reference as to how a shy young man became the boogie-woogie piano player on stage that he is today –
“Rockin' His Life Away..."
"You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain. Too much a lovin' drives a man insane..." These were the opening lines that penetrated the air from a little cassette tape given to him by his dad. It was the sound, the lyrics and most of all, the rhythmic piano style that would entice an impressionable 9-year-old boy and create a fire that would turn into a passion and a longing to create the same sound as that of which he heard. It was here for the first time in his life that Luke found something he wanted to do with all of his heart --- all thanks to "The Killer," Jerry Lee Lewis and a present from his parents. From that cassette and those first songs he heard, Luke began practicing and pantomiming on a broken piano. Making any sound from it he could helped in developing his own sound and rhythm. In March of 1995, at not yet the age of fifteen, he asked his dad and mom for a working piano to play on. That was all it took --- he bought him one. It could possibly be the most important and influential gift his parents could ever give him. It would prove not to go unused or be a short-lived hobby. For nearly eight and a half hours, each day after school, he practiced and practiced on that piano. The first song he fully learned was "Carrying On", a lesser known, little rockin' tune that Jerry Lee recorded in 1958. While he learned the music that touched his soul, it was his soul that reflected that passion and feeling. He began doing what came natural. To anyone who loves such music, what is natural is to move and feel the sound. And move he did. His rock and roll stage antics suddenly began to match his vocal and boogie-woogie piano playing performance and style. It was here Rockin' Luke LeWolfe Stroud was born. That began nearly ten years ago, and today, "Rockin' Luke" continues growing as his own artist. Along with playing the piano, he has become quite the musician on guitar and drums. He writes his own songs, including one he performs in his show entitled "I'm Still Thinking of You" --- a song about a love-gone-wrong and the inability to forget. The tune and lyrics, although reminiscent to that of his idol, is certainly Luke's own. Luke was born in Newport, Arkansas, but calls Cave City home---a small town located in the northern region of the state --- just hours from Memphis, Tennessee, home of the musical sound and legends he admires. Cave City is proud of the "hometown boy with the big talent," and loves it each time he performs in the area; Luke loves to share his talent to anyone willing to listen. And, who wouldn't? Luke pours his heart into what he does. He gives one-hundred-fifty percent. Despite the sweat and blistered fingers each time he performs, it's worth it. He immerses himself into it, no matter the size of the crowd. He gives it all. One could not possibly walk away from his show without getting everything they came for. They get more. He taught himself. At such a young age, he found that something he truly loves and did everything he could in learning to do it well. And that journey hasn't stopped.... At twenty-four, Luke Stroud has accomplished what others twice his age still search for---what they are meant to do in life. Yes, he may have taught himself, but in truth this talent isn't something that is learned. It's a gift from God --- a true God-given talent.'"
Written by: Lacy Mitchell about 6 years ago...”
Stroud has lived in Cave City, AR almost all of his life and is also co-owner of a small masonry business called Stroud Masonry Construction. He is also an accomplished photographer whose photos have been published in the Batesville (Ark.) Daily Guard, Van Buren County (Ark.) Democrat and other newspapers.
“I feel it is an honor to play the music that I love and to carry on the tradition of early rock'n'roll,” Rockin' Luke said recently.
Whether performing to a crowd of a few or to five thousand, he always gives entertaining his all...
Contact for Rockin' Luke Stroud: [email protected]
Contact for his Management/booking Team:
Larry Stroud: [email protected] or 870-283-4013;
Lacy Mitchell: [email protected]
Check out the website for Rockin' Luke Stroud at www.rockinluke.com