Thanks to Fred Robbins for keeping us updated on the condition of Allen Shelton, who has been hospitalized in Nashville for treatment of his leukemia since early October.
Long-time bluegrass fans know Allen for his banjo playing with Jim Eanes and Jim & Jesse. He always played with a driving sound, but also developed a distinctive, jazz-inflected swing style which formed the perfect accompaniment to the more country flavored music of Eanes and the McReynolds. Shelton also recorded a number of classic banjo albums under his name, and was known for his use of a dobro-banjo in the later years of Jim & Jesse’s touring days.
As much as his immediately-recognizable banjo sound, Allen was known for his huge smile and his warm, friendly manner.
Fred passes along this update from Allen’s daughter-in-law:
“We had hoped he was coming home [Saturday Oct 31], but now it looks like it will be next week. We’ve spent [Friday] helping Mrs. Shelton get the house ready for his arrival. He is feeling pretty good, the Dr. just wants some of his numbers to increase before he lets him go home.”
Here’s a video from 1988 of Shelton playing one of his most popular tunes, Bending The Strings.