James Alan Shelton Battles Cancer; Jamie Wilson Launches Fundraising Campaign for New Album; HBO Develops Bessie Smith Biopic

Juli Thanki | May 2nd, 2014

  • James Alan Shelton, one of Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys, was hospitalized recently. Doctors have diagnosed him with Stage IV cancer after they found malignant masses in his pancreas and bowel; they also said that the disease has spread to his liver. Shelton will undergo therapy and says he’ll continue playing with Stanley as long as his health allows.
  • One of Willie Nelson’s old tour buses is up for sale on Craigslist. Good luck getting the pot stink out.
  • The handwritten lyrics for Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” are expected to fetch $1 million at auction. You could buy 30 of Willie’s old tour buses for that amount of money.
  • Peter Cooper’s new Tennessean column profiles Sturgill Simpson.
  • HBO is developing a Bessie Smith biopic. Queen Latifah has signed on to play the blues legend.
  • This six-disc Bear Family box set of Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner’s recordings looks pretty sweet. It’s coming out on May 5.
  • Get ready for tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby with this old Friday Five on horseracing.
  • Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Strictly Ballroom) is in talks to direct an Elvis Presley biopic.
  • This month’s free Trail Mix from Blue Ridge Outdoors includes songs by Tim O’Brien, The Infamous Stringdusters, and After Jack.
  • Bryan Sutton on his new album: “Developing as a songwriter has helped me kind of get a deeper sense of what I am, and I feel like this record represents that more than anything I’ve done. Ever since I was in high school, I’ve always been a fan of a lot of different styles of music and a lot of different kinds of guitar playing. It’s hard for me to just make a bluegrass record. I’ve done that. That was something that I felt like I needed to do. But when I set out to make a solo record, I feel like it needs to have some variety on it. I guess that’s who I am ultimately. I love old-time, I love bluegrass, I love the jazz things that I’ve done — that hot swing kind of thing.”
  • Get the story behind “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.” (warning: autoplay)
  • Leyla McCalla visited the Relix offices to play “Meci Bondye” from her salute to Langston Hughes, Vari-Colored Songs.
  • Austin-based label Eight 30 Records will launch next year; the label’s first release – produced by Kevin Russell (The Gourds, Shinyribs), Jenni Finlay, and writer Brian T. Atkinson – is going to be a tribute to Venice Beach busker Ted Hawkins.
  • Cracker Barrel has released a collection of CDs called Grand Ole Opry by the Decades; the discs include some of the best performances delivered on the Opry stage from the 1960s to the ‘90s.
  • Jamie Wilson (The Trishas) launched a fundraising campaign to help her record her full-length solo debut album.
  • Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan released a promo video for their upcoming tour.
  • Here’s a video of Stevie Ray Vaughan playing “Texas Flood” at the 1989 Presidential Inaugural Concert, which will be released on DVD next week.

 

  1. A.B.
    May 2, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Lester Armistead of the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band is also undergoing cancer treatments and they’re saying his journey is almost over.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=736698859716023&set=a.332697403449506.90831.117546284964620&type=1&stream_ref=10

    • Juli Thanki
      May 2, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Thanks for the info on this, A.B. Much appreciated.

  2. nm
    May 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I think Latifah will do an excellent job of playing Bessie Smith — I just hope they get a decent script. It’s sort of feast or famine with HBO.

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