Passings: Bluegrass Storyteller James King (1958 - 2016)

by VVN Music

James King, known as The Bluegrass Storyteller, died earlier today (May 19) due to his ongoing battle with liver disease. King passed away at Lewis Gale Hospital in Salem, VA.

Born in Martinsville and raised in Cana, VA, King was born into a musical family with his father and uncle both working musicians. He was influenced early by the music of the Stanley Brothers and started performing with T.J. and Bobby Lundy, the sons of Ted Lundy.

In the 1980's, King became associated with Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys as one of their few "honorary members". It was also during this time, in 1985, that he released his first solo album, James King.

Two more solo albums followed before he signed with Rounder Records and formed The James King Band which won the Emerging Artist Award at the 1997 IBMAs. He also played in the Bluegrass supergroup Longview.

King became known as The Bluegrass Storyteller due to his unique ability to tell tales through his songs like Bed By the Window and Echo Mountain.

A selection of James King albums:
  • Introducing James King (1985)
  • It's a Cold, Cold World (1989)
  • These Old Pictures (1993)
  • Lonesome and Then Some (1995)
  • Longview (1997)
  • Bed By the Window (1998)
  • Thirty Years of Farming (2002)
  • The Bluegrass Storyteller (2005)
  • Three Chords & the Truth (2013) 

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