What a lucky accident that Cory Bliss, a Coeur d’Alene gymnast, sounds just like Elvis.
Or is it? There’s a scarcity of white bell-bottoms in Cory’s wardrobe, and the only glitter on him comes from the braces on his teeth. His dark hair has no wave, and his gymnast’s body has no sag.
At 27, Cory has but a year’s experience on guitar.
After the voice, Cory’s only similarity to Elvis Presley is the tender age of the girls he hangs around - and that’s not something the very Christian Cory wants publicized. Just to clarify: Cory’s girls are the gymnasts he coaches at Lake City Gymnastics.
“No, no, I’m not an Elvis impersonator,” Cory says, stressing the negative with exaggerated head shakes. “I listened to Elvis tapes, and he seems the closest match to my voice.”
That voice worked well for Elvis, so why shouldn’t it for Cory?
“Are you lonesome tonight …?” Cory croons on a videotape playing on the VCR under his Elvis collector plate. For a moment, the voice belongs to Elvis, then it doesn’t, then it does.
Cory grins as he listens.
“Would you believe I just started guitar a year ago?” he asks.”I realized I had talent.”
His mother heard Elvis in her son a few years ago and couldn’t believe her luck. She urged Cory to sing and booked him for her Christmas party in 1996. In a panic, he bought a guitar and easy Elvis music books.
He accompanied Elvis recordings. He opened his throat and let deep, round sounds rise from his belly. Cory even conquered Elvis’ heart-melting vibrato.
Friends and relatives were fans. He performed on open-mike nights at local clubs, and people applauded his Elvis sound. Elvis gifts started trickling in - a statue, CDs, videos.
Cory was so encouraged that he spent $3,000 last spring to record 1,000 copies of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” His single CDs and tapes hit area record stores two months ago. He says he hasn’t kept track of sales.
Instead, his attention is on his second recording, this one of a few dozen songs and equally expensive.
But Cory figures the cost is worth it. When you have a voice like Elvis’, you’re duty-bound to use it.
“I’m living a dream now,” Cory says after demonstrating the karaoke machine he bought for his living room. “I don’t compare myself with Elvis. I’m Cory who sounds like Elvis - and I’m really happy and proud.”
Catch Cory on Wednesdays throughout February at Capone’s Pub and Grill, 751 N. Fourth, Coeur d’Alene.
The play’s the thing
If you do nothing else in February, see “Faces of America” in North Idaho College’s Schuler Auditorium at 7 p.m. Tuesday. It’s free of charge.
This play was performed for foreign dignitaries and political activists at the United Nations in 1996 to commemorate the 51st-annual United Nations Day.
The nine characters are composites of dozens of people whom scriptwriters interviewed with the idea of creating cultural diversity workshops.
Just a warning if you’re thinking of taking the kiddies: The play contains some strong language. On the other hand, it also is described as “wonderfully insightful in its witty, tragic and joyous portrayal of human nature.”
Thank Associated Students of NIC and NIC’s cultural diversity office for the treat.
Remember Jo, the Hayden woman whose vintage costume collection was all the rage last Halloween? She has taken her saloon-girl frills and Marie Antoinette gowns out of her basement and moved them to a store, Karisma, on Sherman Avenue in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
Jo’s worth visiting. Karisma is like a museum.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
MEMO: What’s the craziest store you’ve seen in the Panhandle and who’s behind it? Pinpoint the oddballs for Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene 83814; or send a fax to 765-7149, call 765-7128 or send e-mail to email@example.com.