Gerald Brann has a degree in jazz piano. He's played piano all his life and, thus, appreciates the masters such as Billy Joel and Elton John.
This is one reason he put together a band eight years ago that plays tribute to Sir Elton.
Appropriately named "Yellow Brick Road," the tribute band makes its debut Saturday night at Penn's Peak in a concert starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 on the night of the show.
It's the second of a double-header of classic music at the Peak. Tonight, Rubix Cube will be at Penn's Peak with a concert of 80s music. Tonight's entertainment also begins at 8 p.m.
"Yellow Brick Road is a full concert tribute complete with an amazing sound and light show," said Brann in a phone interview from his home in Maine. "You will leave this concert feeling as if you just experienced an actual Elton John concert."
He explained that he tries to recreate a live concert of the "Rocket Man."
"We try to have people get the feeling they went to an Elton John concert. We give a very good representation of how he did it in concert."
"Our highest concentration is the 70s and 80s," Brann said. "We do full costume, the light show, and I have a Baby Grand Piano. We do have crowd involvement."
One band member, Doug Stackhouse, is originally from Carlisle, England, which is only 60 miles from the hometown of Elton's guitar player.
Stackhouse has played guitar for more than 25 years with such UK notables as "Wolf" and "Farenheit 451."
Another band member, Kevin J. Ostrowski, grew up in Wilkes-Barre, making tonight's concert special to him.
Other members are guitarist Mike Tobias and bass player Mark Kavanaugh.
Although Yellow Brick Road devotes much of Brann's time and has him traveling a lot, in his off-time from performing he is employed as an electrician for nuclear submarines.
Brann, 42, said he has been an Elton John fan since he was a child. "I was born in '68 and his music basically burst on the scene in '69-'70," said the tribute artist. "I think I really started to listen more-so as I became a stronger musician."
Yellow Brick Road previously performed at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Pocono Downs and at numerous other casinos. The band has traveled to numerous states and countries, including Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
Although Brann has never met Elton John, he has been in touch with the star's management team. "I have had interaction over the phone, mostly because we performed with a symphony orchestra and used his orchestra scores. I spoke with his personal manager in London several times. He wanted video of our best show."
Brann said in Maine he had done Elton John material with the Augusta Symphony before an audience of nearly 1,000 people.
He admits he does have some favorite Elton John songs. "I love 'Funeral for A Friend,' 'Burn Down the Mission,' and 'Levon,'" said Brann.
Of course, the band always does the major hits such as "Philadelphia Freedom" and "Good-bye Yellow Brick Road."
Asked what he would like to tell the people of the Jim Thorpe area about his show, he remarked, "If you're looking for a place to take your loved ones for Valentine's Day, or you just want to go out and have a good time and party, come out and see and hear 'Elton John.'"