Musician switches track from Elvis impersonator to Paul McCartney

For about 30 years, Jed Duvall has performed as Elvis, bringing to life the King of Rock and Roll by studying tapes of the late master. A few years ago, he began a transition to a new, more difficult career — imitating a living legend, Paul McCartney.

In 2013, the Prince George's County resident began performing as the Beatles' Paul McCartney, a transition, he said, that came about due to his own aging. Duvall is in his 50s, and Elvis died at 47. As Duvall grew older, he developed a resemblance of the knighted songwriter, he said.


"People kept telling my that I looked like McCartney," Duvall said. "Even my own mother said that it was an uncanny likeness. Instead of fighting it, I decided to embrace it."

On Saturday, Duvall will perform "The McCartney Experience" at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster. Unlike the many Beatles tribute bands throughout the country, Duvall keeps his focus to the work of McCartney, covering everything from Beatlemania up through his time with Wings to the master's solo work.


Duvall said he's been a McCartney fan nearly since birth. His older sister, growing up, had a huge crush on McCartney, so when the Beatles broke up, she and Duvall followed him over to Wings.

One of the major challenges of performing as McCartney — and one of the major differences between this and his other major role as Elvis — is that McCartney is still alive and on tour. Duvall said a fellow Elvis impersonator asked him what is the value of taking on the role of a living performer when fans have the opportunity to go see the real deal.

"We all know, there's only one Paul McCartney. I'm not trying to replace him," Duvall said. "I want to give people an up close and personal look at the legend, that they may not be able to see or experience because of price or the size of the venues he's selling out."

Authenticity is vital to the role of an impersonator, Duvall said. The right-handed performer even went as far as to teach himself to play the bass left-handed to more accurately capture the pop idol. That authenticity, Duvall said, is the value of performing as a living artist.

One of the exciting things about McCartney, according to Duvall, is that he is constantly evolving.

"He's always looking at trends and doing different things," Duvall said. "It's always interesting music. It could be fun; it could be sad, or poignant. It's always got that core to it. He's just a brilliant songwriter."

Duvall said he prefers performing as McCartney, both because of his passion for the music of the former Beatle and the persona he gets to take on.

"Compared to Elvis, Paul's a pretty normal guy. He had a normal routine. He was vegetarian. He didn't have a lot of vices," Duvall said. "When you're dealing with a character like Elvis, it's such a complex role dealing with a lot of those nuances. But Paul, he's basically one of us."

He said an added bonus of switching celebrities is avoiding the oversaturated market of Elvis impersonators.

"You can throw a rock and hit an Elvis impersonator," Duvall said. "I've never been one to enjoy competition. I like to fit into a niche and do my thing there."




If you go:

What: A Paul McCartney Experience

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24

Where: Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster

Cost: $15 general admission

For more information: Visit www.carrollartscenter.org or call 410-848-7272.

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