Music

James King, ‘The Bluegrass Storyteller,’ Dies at 57

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Bluegrass lovers around the world are mourning the loss of one of the genre’s finest musicians.

James King, known by his nickname “The Bluegrass Storyteller,” passed away on May 19 after a long battle with liver disease at the age of 57.

King came from a family of bluegrass musicians, and pursued music as a career after a brief stint in the Marine Corps. In the 1980s, he became an honorary member of Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys, and released his first self-titled solo album to critical acclaim.

In the 1990s, he formed the award-winning James King Band, and also regularly performed with bluegrass supergroup Longview. He released what would be his final of nine career albums, the Grammy-nominated “Three Chords & the Truth,” in 2013.

During his career, he won 12 Bluegrass Music Awards and was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame. He was dubbed “The Bluegrass Storyteller” for his incredible ability to inject emotion and authenticity into every story-song he performed.

In recent years, King had struggled with liver issues that emerged after years of struggling with alcoholism. King was predeceased by his daughter Shelby Ann, who died in 2012. Funeral arrangements are currently pending.

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James King, ‘The Bluegrass Storyteller,’ Dies at 57