Ty Stone has been called the hardest working man in tribute band land. Don’t believe it? See for yourself.
Get to ready to shimmy and shake when Twin Cities-based showman and singer Stone brings his tribute show, “American Soul: A Tribute to James Brown, Ray Charles and the songs of the Blues Brothers,” to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Fireside Theatre on Saturday, July 20.
By day, Stone, 54, Bloomington, makes models for Stratasys, a 3-D printer manufacturer. But his passion is music and James Brown. What’s his show like?
“It’s reminiscent of the Apollo Theater in New York or the Regal Theater in Chicago where all the great American soul artist put on their ‘Revues,’ Stone said by email. The first half of his show includes covers, performed by Stone, of Ray Charles, the Blue Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Etta James and Wilson Pickett, with his eight-piece band and background singers. The second half of the show is devoted to the king of them all — James Brown.
The Chicago native has had a band since he was 8 years old, starting with his impersonation of Elvis. “He was the man back then,” Stone said. Today, he describes his shows as high energy, with people dance-bombing the stage.
1 How did you get started in music?
A: I started by sneaking into my uncle’s club The Sunset Ballroom back in the ‘60s at the age of 10 and watching the Temptations, Four Tops, Junior Walker and the All Stars, Gladys Knight and the Pips.
2 A news clip described you touring with other well known singers and bands. Name some of the more memorable ones; who was your favorite to be on the road with?
A: Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, and Jackie Wilson who called me “Baby Brother.” He always used to tell me and I quote, “Do that James Brown thing for me one time — ha ha ha!”
3 Where else can people come see you perform? How often do you perform, and where?
A: Casinos and out-of-town mostly. Not many venues can support my size show. Sometimes we play Vegas and Chicago, but mostly the Midwest or wherever we can find work.
— Unsie Zuege