Calling Elvis was a hit for Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits back in 1991. The song was popular on rock and pop radio, and the video was played regularly on MTV. It had a pulsing, trancelike rhythm that LRB banjo man Sammy Shelor felt could transfer well to a bluegrass band.
“I have been a fan of Dire Straits since I first heard Sultans of Swing in the late 1970s. Groove and taste! I’ve always wanted to cover one of their songs but the opportunity was never there ’til now. Calling Elvis has always grabbed my attention as a groove that we could do with the personnel we have in the band these days. It’s all about having fun with these guys!”
It conveys the tale of a fan trying to reach Elvis, who he presumes to still be alive, and guitarist Brandon Rickman captures the style of Knopfler’s original track, but with a more melodic feel.
As the track continues, the band builds to a crescendo with the same hypnotic figure introduced by the fiddle in the sample above. Dire Straits fans will appreciate the tribute, as bluegrass lovers dig the groove.
Lonesome River band also includes Mike Hartgrove on fiddle, Barry Reed on bass, and Jesse Smathers on mandolin. The band was joined on the cut by Tony Creasman on drums.
Calling Elvis is available today from all the popular download and streaming sites.