Every Wednesday I drive down to the Jefferson County/Hillview border to pick up my weekly comics and to swing by my childhood home when I have the time to visit the folks. A while ago they told me about a new Mexican restaurant by their house that I had to try. Now I’m a bit of a food snob and my mother is easily pleased so I was less than thrilled to try it. But alas, one Wednesday a month ago I gave in and agreed to it, it was a free meal after all.
As I entered I immediately noticed the Elvis impersonator by the bar paying tribute to the King, pompadour and all. I then noticed that above all the booths were big screens with the MLB Playoffs on them, my kind of place.
The food turned out to be really good. And not just in a drunken off $2 margarita kind of way either.
As I sat and enjoyed my frozen mango margarita and noshed on a #8 platter I realized just how cool it is to hear live performers. I’m not a huge music fan and rarely go to concerts, so I rarely take time out to just sit down and listen to someone sing. But this was really cool. After the first younger Elvis left the performance space, a slightly older Elvis took to the mic and covered not just Elvis but rock ‘n roll songs through the ages. After a few more songs we finished dinner and left. The fact that I just saw not one, but two Elvis impersonators while drinking tequila and fruit and eating a burrito made my night.
I returned two weeks later with my family to see the same performers along with a younger gentleman singing known country song. This place was now somewhere I not just enjoyed ironically but somewhere I actually wanted to be.
I posted on Twitter about my experiences and my brother-from-a-very-different-mother, Rocko, replied that he also needed some Elvi (plural for Elvis) in his life, so we made plans to go the following Wednesday and went on with our seemingly normal lives for another 7 days.
The week passed and the time had come. We hit up the comic shop, swung by my folks and then made the trip to 5404 Antle Drive.
We sat down and each ordered a Super Gigante Burrito, a 12″ burrito filled with chicken or beef, rice and loads of goodies and smothered in a white queso. It resembles something you would lay your head on at night instead of a single portioned meal. If you’re up for a Man vs. Food style challenge then go for it. If you aren’t a fat kid at heart like Rocko or myself then I would stick to a regular sized burrito, combo platter or the fajitas, which aren’t only advertised as the best in town, but truly are.
The first performer we saw had gone off stage and next up was young Elvis, I think this made Rocko’s night since he’s the biggest King fan that I know.
In the middle of his set we were approached by the first performer, Ray Glenn, who ended up chatting with us through the second, third and fourth performers until it was his turn to close out the night at 9:30. Ray turned out to be such a cool and interesting guy that I asked him if he would mind if wrote about him for my blog on The Voice-Tribune’s website. He responded that he would love that then told me that he actually used to work for us at our old location in St. Matthews. Reminding me once again that no matter how big this city is, it’s still the smallest town in America.
Ray started out tinkering with music while performing karaoke in the Navy, singing in Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, The Philippines, Singapore and even Acapulco, where he shared the same stage that Elvis once performed on. He always thought of performing as a hobby until his then 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with Diabetes. After spending 4 days in the hospital she was released. Once Ray and his wife found out the cost for diabetic supplies supplies they realized that they would need some additional income to cover these charges. Ray found out that Mike Linnigs was having a “So you think you can sing” karaoke contest with a first prize of $1,000 and entered.
Ray Glenn didn’t win the contest that night after performing a Kenny Rogers song but he did meet a man named Danny Dale, who’s the leader of a performance group called “Legends: Then & Now”. Danny asked Ray if he would be interested in auditioning to join the group. Ray first thought it was a joke but then took interest in it. The next Monday he performed at El Nopal in Hillview where both the group and the audience liked him enough that Danny asked him to join. Three years later they’re still performing songs made favorites by some of the best artists in the history of rock ‘n roll, including the aforementioned Elvis Presley and Kenny Rogers as well as Roy Orbison, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Ronnie Milsap and plenty more.
The duo aren’t just musical colleagues but have also become close friends over the years. Ray recalled a time when Danny helped his family when they were in need. “I also remember that Christmas, the family knew we were struggling financially, (Ray has 6 kids, including 4 at home) and with our young one’s Diabetes, it was even more difficult! The Family arranged to put together a care package for us, filled with toys for the kids, stuff for my wife, and even a full turkey dinner! They called me outside, told me the family needed to ‘discuss some things with me, which I thought meant they were letting me go, that it wasn’t working out. Well, we walked out to their car, they opened the trunk and pulled out a HUGE box which had everything in it. When I looked at it, I just broke down! I could NOT believe what they had done.”
He doesn’t make much performing, usually only enough for dinner and gas money, but it’s something he’s passionate about. And that’s why I chose to include Ray in a post that was only going to be about a neat Mexican joint that has some cool Elvis impersonators. Sitting there with Rocko and listening to this stranger share with us his life story was one of those moments where you just stop and appreciate life. No matter where you’re at or what you’re doing, it’s the people around you that make you what you are.
In closing I’m just going to let Ray say what he sent me after answering my questions. Thank you for reading.
Recently, I was hospitalized and later diagnosed with celiac disease, which has really changed my whole way of life and makes me understand my daughter’s condition that much more. It has also caused us even more financial difficulty, and I thank my wife for all that she does to keep our household running, knowing how difficult it is to provide for us all. I also thank the Perkins Brothers for allowing me to perform with them in various venues and shows. I respect them and consider them to be AWESOME entertainers/performers and I also consider them as some of my closest friends! I am trying to do for others, what has been done for me … I would like to bring in newcomers who are trying to get started, have them perform at one of my shows. I have done this for several already. Meadow, a 12 year old who is just a joy to have around. And Joseph, who is just a great young man who is giving all he can to just get better as an entertainer/performer! Thank you all!
Legends: Then & Now consists of Danny Dale, Norma Jean, L’il D (Danny Jr), Brandon Wayne, Rebekah Lynne, Mac Mcdonald, Al Hilbert, and of course, Ray Glenn.
Category: Rants, Raves and Interviews
About the Author (Author Profile)
I read, I write, I watch stuff and most importantly I design and photograph for the Voice-Tribune full time. When I’m not doing those things then I’m probably eating something delicious or playing with my two cats. I live in Germantown and try to enjoy every day to the fullest.