Legendary guitar sideman James Burton reveals cancer diagnosis and upcoming surgery

“I would personally appreciate your prayers for a total healing."

Nashville guitar legend James Burton has announced he is currently battling kidney cancer.

Sharing the news via his Facebook page Friday evening, Burton said that he is scheduled for an operation on Monday (3 October) at the Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

“Even though I have a great team of Doctors, I know GOD is in control,” the post reads. “I would personally appreciate your prayers for a TOTAL HEALING. Please share this request with all your friends.”

PRAYERS REQUESTED🙏✝️I have been diagnosed with kidney cancer and I am scheduled for an operation Monday Oct. 3rd at…

Posted by James Burton on Friday, September 30, 2022

Born in the Webster Parish town of Dubberly, the self-taught guitar virtuoso is widely regarded as one of the best rock ‘n’ roll sidemen of all time, earning the nickname “Master of the Telecaster”.

Across his multi-decade career, he’s recorded and performed alongside the likes of Bob Luman, Dale Hawkins, Ricky Nelson, The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, John Denver, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Claude King, Elvis Costello, Joe Osborn, Roy Orbison, Joni Mitchell, Hoyt Axton, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Young, Vince Gill, and Suzi Quatro.

He also featured as the lead guitarist of Elvis Presley’s TCB Band, until the pop star’s death in 1977.

In 2001, Burton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. “Let me put it this way: I never bought a Ricky Nelson record, I bought a James Burton record,” Richards said during the induction speech.

Burton has also been recognised by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. He ranked number 19 in Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists.

Music critic Mark Deming once wrote that “Burton has a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest guitar pickers in either country or rock… [he is] one of the best guitar players to ever touch a fretboard.”

Stay tuned for more on this story.

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