Saturday, March 24, 2018
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20180222 Bill Chrastil IMG 5335Imagine Bill Chrastil stepping on a stage, dressed to the nines in his Elvis regalia as he bursts out in song – not with a song from The King, but from The Boss called “Fire.”

But it’s not Elvis’ voice. It’s not Bruce Springsteen’s either.

It’s Elmer Fudd. Undeniably the voice of one of the most famous Looney Tunes character, the bald-headed hunter and enemy of Bugs Bunny, whose aim is to hunt Bugs and who speaks in an unusual way, replacing his Rs and Ls with Ws.

“I have no idea where that voice came from,” Chrastil said. “It just happened.”

But that part of a Chrastil show is just a morsel of what the performer brings to his audience. Other voices include Elvis, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly. It’s that variety of voices along with his high-energy performance that earned him his third straight Male Vocalist of the Year Award and second consecutive Entertainer of the Year Award at the annual Star Awards on Saturday at Casa del Valle RV Park in Alamo.

20180222 Bill Chrastil IMG 5427“That’s just a thrill,” Chrastil said. “I appreciate the Winter Texans who enjoy my singing and my show. Regardless of the award I want to thank them for all the special moments and the way they have treated me and my wife, and for coming to the shows and voting for me.”

Chrastil has been performing full time since 1983 and began his Elvis tributes since he was 16. He has been honored with numerous awards in Branson, Mo., including Best Gospel CD of the Year, Best Vocal Impressionist of the Year and Best Horizon Show of the Year. Chrastil has been inducted into the Nebraska and South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame and is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association.

A resident of Lincoln, Neb., Chrastil said his show has evolved over the years and continues to evolve, even 34 years after starting full time.

“It keeps me fresh and, honestly, helps make every show feel like a brand new show,” he said. “Finding different voices, improving on the guitar and the piano have provided me with a variety of options to change up my show and give it a fresh feel. I do it for myself as much as I do for the audience – to give them something new and fresh.”

Some of the voices he hears just come natural, like to those who play instruments without reading music but by “playing by ear.” Some, however, have even surprised Chrastil in their development.

“I was really surprised I could to Willie,” he said. “I never sat down to do Willie. I was just singing along one day to My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys and it just came, it evolved.”

Chrastil said he also works out five days a week to remain in shape for his high-energy performances. Swinging those hips like Elvis can wear down anyone.

Chrastil will spend about a month in Florida with his daughter and perform a few shows then he and his wife will return to Nebraska, performing at casinos, fairs, festivals and other shows throughout the summer and fall.

“Then we’ll be back in the Valley,” he said. “We are just so blessed to have made so many friends there. We always can’t wait to return.”

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