ESCONDIDO, CA. Tucked away east of the I-15 in the hills of the Cleveland National Forest is Smokey’s Lake Wohlford Café. It’s a rustic café serving comfort foods chased down by beer and wine. Fried catfish is the mainstay on the menu and the joint is a popular hangout for nearby locals looking for live music and dancing. My wife, Jeanne Marie, and I were celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary which coincidentally coincided with James Kruk and the Big Boss Men playing at Smokey’s.
The night was filled with food, laughter, and conversations with friends over drinks as we all caught up on the current events of our lives. When the music cued the dance floor came to life with the twists and twirls of disciplined dancers intertwined with the gyrations of dancers who simply moved to the beat. Weaving through the dancers was James singing Elvis songs and moving his body like Elvis being careful not to shake, rattle, and roll someone off the dance floor. All had smiles on their faces and a few had twinkles of love and romance in their eyes.
James put some of the twinkles in the girls’ eyes with his handsome features and Elvis persona. He is one of the best ETAs performing today.
Most ETAs come to the stage with an understanding they are not Elvis, but simply a shadow of the greatest entertainer to ever grace the stage. James takes it to a new level and embodies this concept. He blends his own personality and interpretation of the songs with Elvis’ personality and interpretation of the songs and makes them his own. It’s Elvis, but it’s not Elvis. It’s not as easy as it sounds and would be impossible without the skillful musicians lead by Les Allen and the Big Boss Men who grasp this concept and share James’ interpretation. ~ Rocking Elvis Fest Contestant Profile: James Kruk.
James sings from a large selection of Elvis songs including True Love Travels on a Gravel Road. This is the Elvis song my wife and I have made to be our song to describe our love for each other and our marriage journey. He sang it beautifully to us a capella and presented us a signed scarf to commemorate our anniversary.
The night was a wonderful celebration with friends and the memory of Elvis. Thank you to our friends Mike and Jeanie, Julie and Tony, and Tiffany Allen. Thank you Zach, Kris and the Gimp for the bottle of sparkling, Moscato wine. Thank you all for celebrating with us.
Thank you to the Big Boss Men: Les Allen, Ben Zinn, Ron Harmon, and Larry DeMontgre for the entertainment, and of course, James “King” Kruk. You have all made our 18th wedding anniversary a most memorable night.