Bringing ‘Blues’ home

Millsaps and Livingston’s Blues Brothers tribute show sells out Capitol Theatre

When Jarrod Millsaps slips on his hat and dark sunglasses, he becomes a different person.

That’s the way it has been since 1994 when he and Josh Livingston started performing as Jake and Elwood of Blues Brothers fame.

Millsaps performs as Elwood, the Dan Aykroyd character, and Livingston portrays Jake, the John Belushi character, from the act first made famous by “Saturday Night Live.”

In their “real” life, Millsaps is community outreach coordinator with the Blount County Sheriff’s office, and Livingston helps manage his family’s wedding facility Sampson’s Hollow in Walland, plays with Matt Huling as part of the music duo Two Guys, Two Guitars, and he’s a stay-at-home dad.

“From my real job, this is definitely a stress reliever,” said Millsaps. “Maybe it is my alter-ego, but when I put that hat and sunglasses on, I become that character in a way. I relieve some stress on stage and have a good time with it.”

Millsaps and Livingston brought their Blues Brothers tribute show to the Capitol Theater on Jan. 7, and Millsaps said response was surprisingly strong. “It exceeded our expectations,” he said.

Livingston said they were pleased with the turnout. “It was a pleasant surprise to say the least,” he said.

Leading up to the night of the show, people could get tickets by going to the Capitol Theater’s website. Before the show, Millsaps said he and Livingston were downstairs preparing, when someone from the theater came to speak with them. “Someone came down and asked if we had more people coming, and we said, ‘Just friends and family.’ They said they were sold out,” he said. “The next thing we knew, we had 350 tickets sold, and folks at the Capitol had to turn people away.”

Millsaps and Livingston started performing as the Blues Brothers while attending Heritage High School in 1994. Since then they have regularly performed at Memories Theater in Pigeon Forge for several years and have also toured throughout the Southeast United States doing their Blues Brothers Tribute Show.

Livingston said what he enjoys most about the Blues Brothers tribute show is just watching peoples’ reaction. “The reaction of the crowd is great,” he said. “They generally get into it.”

Millsaps said they don’t book shows in Maryville often, so they were excited about having the opportunity to perform at the Capitol Theater.

“Maryville is our home. This is the place where we belong and where we grew up, so it was just the right thing to do to have a show here,” he said. “The band was all local folks who work and play right here in the Blount County.”

Millsaps said he and Livingston appreciated folks for coming to the show. “It was humbling to us that that many people cared about what we do,” he said. “I was more nervous because we normally perform in front of groups of strangers. That is never a problem, but I had lot a friends and family and co-workers there.”

Millsaps also thanked Capitol Theatre owner Heath Claiborne and his staff for bringing them to town. “Heath Claiborne has a great place. It was nice he has brought something like this to downtown.”

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