CHURCH HILL- James Alan Shelton, 53, passed away on Tuesday (June 3, 2014) at Holston Valley Medical Center following a brief illness.
James was born in Kingsport, TN and was a member of Community Fellowship Baptist Church, Gate City, VA. His faith in the Lord sustained him during his recent illness. He grew up in the Yuma community near Gate City, VA and was a 1979 graduate of Gate City High School. Early on, Mr. Shelton worked and instructed in various music stores around Kingsport and Gate City, VA. James played music in various local groups before achieving his dream of playing lead guitar with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. He was the road manager for nearly 20 years and also served as booking agent for many years . Mr. Shelton was well known for his custom leather instrument straps which he hand-tooled himself. Many professional bluegrass artists use these straps all across the world.
Huss and Dalton guitars created the “James Alan Shelton” model guitar which was modeled after his favorite Martin guitar. James received a Grammy award in 2002 for best bluegrass album for his work with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and Jim Lauderdale. His solo album, “Half Moon Bay” was nominated as “Instrumental Album of the year” by the IBMA in 2005. In 2011, James had the privilege of inducting his guitar mentor, George Shuffler, into the IBMA Hall of Fame. James played many venues over his career including, the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, Austin City Limits, The Tonight Show, David Letterman, and also played for the Queen of England. James had recorded 10 solo projects over the years. He never met a stranger and was always willing to help young musicians and anyone else he met. He will be remembered for his generous spirit.
James leaves behind a host of friends to cherish his memories. He is preceded in death by his mother, Wilma Porter Shelton, maternal grandparents, Bordie and Eula Lee Porter, paternal grandparents, Roy and Grace Shelton, and his father-in-law, Ernest Kincheloe. He is survived by his loving wife of 26 years, Greta Kincheloe Shelton, father, J. Fred Shelton, brother, Marty Shelton and his wife, Cathy of York, PA., Mother-in-law, Jackie Tipton and her husband Kenny, nephews, Marshall and Trevor Shelton, several aunts, uncles, and cousins. In addition to his family, James leaves behind his "North Carolina family", the Shuffler's, his neighbors and special friends Steve and Jessica Patton and long-time friends Dan Moneyhun and Tommy Freeman. Calling hours are from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. Friday at Johnson – Arrowood Funeral Home and anytime at the residence or the home of his father, J. Fred Shelton.
Funeral services will be conducted 11:00 A.M. Saturday in the funeral home chapel with Rev. Odell Beauchamp and Rev. Bill Porter officiating. Music will be provided by close friends. Graveside services will be conducted following the service Saturday at Church Hill Memory Gardens. Pallbearers will be Audey Ratliff, Steve Patton, Tommy Freeman, Jerry Keys, Dan Moneyhun Tim Thacker and Nathan Aquino. Honorary bearers will be Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Phil Overbey, Adam Steffey, Barry Bales, Steve Sparkman, Herbie Shuffler, Eric Shuffler, and Eddie Stubbs.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Bridge Home No Kill Animal Rescue 613 Foothills Rd., Kingsport, TN, 37663 or the American Cancer Society, 508 Princeton Rd, Johnson City, TN 37601.
To leave a message for the Shelton family, please visit us @www.jfhonline.com.
Johnson – Arrowood Funeral Home of Church Hill is serving the Shelton family.