Singer pays homage to Roy Orbison in upcoming concert at Marion Ross Performing Arts Center

Published 9:11 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Fans of “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “In Dreams” will have the opportunity to hear Roy Orbison’s music when David Keiski, otherwise known as David K., performs the “Lonely Blue Dreams” tribute show Saturday at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

“It’s basically a celebration of Roy’s legend and his life, but also his inspiration on me particularly,” he said in a phone interview.

Describing it as chronological, Keiski and his band will also be narrating the history of Orbison’s life.

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Keiski’s path to discovering Orbison was a little different, however.

“I grew up inspired by the classic rock legends,” he said. “First off The Beatles, and The Band … and Bob Dylan. Roy Orbison was a little bit before that.”

So while he knew of some of his songs, it wasn’t until later in his career when a friend of his observed Keiski could hit high notes while singing and suggested covering Orbison, something he originally laughed off.

After researching some of Orbison’s music, he tried it after noticing the number of hits Orbison had and his influence on the artists he liked, including the Rolling Stones and Beach Boys. 

He described Orbison’s voice as “iconic” and said Orbison could hit high notes with such a voice.

“The Beatles ended up influenced by his unique songwriting, which included very dramatic and almost operatic almost arrangements and very creative orchestration,” he said. 

Orbison was also a popular musician, and was friends with Johnny Cash, with Elvis saying Orbison had a “perfect” voice.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he became so fixated on Orbison he’d wake up at night with an Orbison song stuck in his head.

“I would say, ‘Stop it Roy, I’ve got to get some rest,’” he said. “But then the next night it was a different song of his.”

And so over a period of time, he’d wake up from a dream with a whole song finished with original songs in Orbison’s style.

“The tribute thing just came about and it’s just a blast,” he said. “I love doing it.”

Keiski, who will play some original songs as well as Orbison’s music, has performed Orbison tributes for five years.

His hope in sharing Orbison’s music is to share Orbison’s legacy with people who aren’t familiar with it. Of note, Orbison lost two sons in a fire and his first wife in a motorcycle accident.

”He just always would get back to work and write more stuff that touched people,” he said. “And I feel like sharing his legacy to people that may not have heard of him or even may have heard of him but don’t know the depth and breadth of his great legacy, I think it’s important to share that and also in my way to share my inspiration, how it inspired me.”

Doing this, he said, helped him to escape from the stress of his life by sharing in his emotions and creativity.

The core group of his band consists of Jim Wilson (drums), Steve Faison (bass), Lana Davis (viola) and Karin Valdezon (violin). 

This will be his second time performing at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

Keiski grew up with a minister father, a mother who played stand-up bass in high school and two grandfathers who played piano or drums. And when he was in fourth grade, a teacher asked him to sing a song from the show “Oliver!”

“When it was over — without any stage fright and I sang at perfect pitch and I just did it — … the audience applauded and I looked out and saw my parents beaming at me, I haven’t forgotten that feeling and just thought, ‘Wow, I made these people happy, that feels pretty good,’” he said.

He would start playing piano and guitar, and together with neighborhood kids they started a garage band. 

Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased online through actonbroadway or by calling the box office (507-377-4371), the 24/7 call center (877-730-3144). They can also be purchased from the box office during business hours. 

The show begins at 7:30 p.m.