Fans and friends of bluegrass balladeer James King know that the past year has been a difficult one for him to endure. Just as he was enjoying the success of a strong new album in the summer of 2014 came news of some very serious health issues, the dissolution of his marriage, and the loss of several stalwart band members.
Though he is still able to perform, James is restricted in his mobility and was getting around at SPBGMA earlier this month in a wheelchair. He is quite fortunate to have dedicated caregivers and is being closely monitored and nurtured by a family that cares for him deeply, but his energy level is low and touring is not easy for him.
Given that he was ill so much of last season, and unable to make several shows, a number of his band members were required to seek work elsewhere, leaving King to have to piece together groups for his 2015 appearances.
Now, former full-time band member and close friend, C.J. Lewandowski, has volunteered his regular group, Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, to serve as James’ band as needed. They helped him out at SPBGMA, and will continue to do so as long as they can be of assistance. James’ regular fiddler, Merl Johnson, will remain with King, but otherwise his band will be Lewandowski on mandolin, Josh Rinkle on guitar, Jereme Brown on banjo, and Jasper Lorentzen on bass.
C.J. tells us that he feels like they can handle all the shows James has booked at this time, and that their supervisor at Ole Smokey Moonshine Distillery in Pigeon Forge, TN where they perform regularly, is willing to let them off to travel with King.
“I love the man, and I want to be there to help James King anyway I can.”
James continues to rest up and marshall his strength, but has been told that a liver transplant will be required for him to completely recover.
A GoFundMe campaign is running now for people worldwide who would like to donate to help him with medical expenses.
I’m sure our readers will join us in wishing James King a hearty Get Well Soon!