Editor's note: In the original version of this story, information about the two Hank Williams shows performed by Robbie Limon was incorrect. Limon performed in “Lost Highway: The Life and Legend of Hank Williams Sr.,” in 2011 at Totem Pole Playhouse. He will bring "Lovesick Blues: The Life and Music of Hank Williams Sr.," to the Greencastle-Antrim High School auditorium Sunday, April 29.
GREENCASTLE, Pa. — When Robbie Limon was about 12 years old, he picked up a ukulele his dad had laying around their Prince George's County, Md., home, and started tinkering with it.
Later, his parents bought him an electric guitar, and his passion for music was ignited.
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"I listened to records and the radio constantly. Then I got in bands. I never stopped. It just settled into my bones," he said during a recent telephone interview.
And as Limon developed his artistic talent, he didn't limit himself to style or genre. He said he learned to copy the tonal quality of other musicians because, "I thought that's how you were supposed to sound like them," he said.
Limon will bring "Lovesick Blues: The Life and Music of Hank Williams Sr.," to the Greencastle-Antrim High School auditorium at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29. The show is a fundraiser for the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.
“Lovesick Blues,” written by Limon and Ken Wissmann, includes 20 songs wrapped around biographical events in the life of country music singer Williams, who died in 1953 at age 29.
Limon said he started performing as Williams about eight years ago, when he was approached by a board member from Wayside Theatre about acting as Williams in a production at the Middletown, Va., theater, which is where Limon is based. Before that, “I’d never seen live theater or set foot on the stage,” he said.
The off-Broadway show, “Lost Highway: The Life and Legend of Hank Williams Sr.,” also had a successful run last summer at Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville, Pa.
Not only did Limon have to learn to yodel to perform as Williams, but he also had to learn to act.
“I had my bumps along the way .... I remember being very frustrated because I couldn’t remember lines and things like that, but actually I got tips from other actors and got some clues into how to deal with that, how to help yourself. I’ve learned a lot and its a lot of fun,” he said.
After the success of “Lost Highway,” Limon said he started getting requests to bring the show to other venues, which is how “Lovesick Blues,” was born. “I came up with another (show). And now we are free to go in and do it ourselves,” he said.
The show features an unreleased track, “You Can’t Keep Me From Loving You,” that Limon said Williams planned to record in early 1953.
"Before (the songwriter) died he had given me the rights to record the song. It's never, ever been recorded by any other artist, but I was allowed to record it for my (Hank Williams) tribute CD," Limon said.
Limon is also getting noticed performing as Buddy Holly. He first acted as Holly in 2007 at Wayside. He will portray the early rock 'n' roller in "An Evening With Buddy Holly," Wednesday, May 16, through Sunday, May 20, at Totem Pole. He will perform Friday, May 4, at Bistro 71, 71 N. Main St., Chambersburg, Pa., to promote the Totem Pole shows.
Limon insisted it's not hard for him to transition between musical genres. "I don't find it difficult. But I will say to get myself geared in the direction of Hank Williams or Buddy Holly, or even the band .... I will listen to the music days before the show. Of course we're doing rehearsals, and rehearsals certainly help. I really just do a heavy review of everything, and even pick up on little nuances that I didn't get before," he said.
In addition to being good at copying the work of other performers, Limon said his talent is good for business. "Doing the variety gets you work. That's what I've discovered. But it started just because of my love for the variety of music. I love '70s stuff and that's what my band does," he said.
So how does Limon, the married father of a 13-year-old son, manage it all? "I squeeze it in," he said. "I end up working 'eight days a week' with the rehearsals, the emails, the negotiations. It keeps me busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way," he said.
Limon will return to Wayside again in June with "Lost Highway: The Life & Music of Hank Williams Sr.," but says he is also looking forward to his northern gigs.
"It's fantastic. Pennsylvania has just been great for me," he said.
If you go ...
WHAT: "Lovesick Blues: The Life and Music of Hank Williams Sr." with Robbie Limon as Williams
WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29
WHERE: Greencastle-Antrim High School auditorium, 300 S. Ridge Ave., Greencastle, Pa.
COST: $20; a pit-roast pig dinner will follow the performance, advance tickets cost $10. Tickets are available at Carl's Drug Store, 145 N. Antrim Way, Greencastle, and the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, 217 E. Baltimore St., Greencastle
CONTACT: Contact the chamber office at 717-597-4610, or email@example.com
MORE: Robbie Limon's official website is www.robbielimonband.com; he is also on Facebook