David Vest plans to wow audiences with energy, skill and creative drive in a tribute concert that will feature the songs of Elvis Presley.
Although he’s a Maple Blues Award winner who now lives in Canada, Vest is an authentic, Southern-bred boogie-woogie piano player, blues shouter and world-class entertainer. His first Canadian recording, East Meets Vest, was named one of the best blues albums of 2012 by Holger Petersen of CBC’s Saturday Night Blues and earned a Maple nomination for Recording of the Year.
Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Vest grew up in Birmingham near Tuxedo Junction. He played his first paying gig in 1957, and by the time he opened for Roy Orbison on New Year’s Day 1962, he was a seasoned veteran of Gulf Coast roadhouses and honky-tonks.
At the age of 17, he went on tour with Jerry Woodard and the Esquires, some of whom later became key members of the Muscle Shoals Swampers. He jammed with Ace Cannon, Bill Black’s Combo and the Jimmy Dorsey Band in clubs along the Florida Panhandle. About the time he turned 21 he found himself onstage with Big Joe Turner, who said that David Vest’s playing made him feel like he was back in Kansas City.
His first recording featured the last song written by Alton Delmore. Vest wrote the first songs recorded by Tammy Wynette, as detailed in her recent bio.
He’s been co-leader of the Paul deLay Band, reaching the Top Ten on Billboard’s national blues chart with The Last of the Best. David’s many festival appearances under his own banner or with other artists include Bumbershoot, King Biscuit, Waterfront (Portland), Winthrop, Edmonton, Calgary, Tremblant, Trois-Rivières, Baltimore, Houston Juneteenth, Ritzville and New Orleans Jazzfest.
Vest performs The Music of Elvis Presley on Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Upstairs Lounge at Oak Bay Recreation Centre. Tickets are $20 in advance at Ivy’s Bookshop and Oak Bay Recreation Centre or $25 at the door.