Singer perseveres through second bout with cancer
When she picks up the call, Sharon Jones sounds tired, understandably so. She’s got a rare break in between dates with her band the Dap-kings — right in the midst of summer festival season and a spate of headlining shows — and she’s trying to catch up on her rest. “I’m sorry I just woke up,” she says. “My brain is trying to get started.”
Forgiving her is easy. In addition to dealing with the usual rigors of touring life, Jones, 60, is battling cancer. It’s her second bout with the disease, following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and subsequent surgery in 2013 that sidelined her for a time, before she returned with a triumphant, Grammynominated comeback album the following year.
Overcoming cancer is merely one part of Jones’ remarkable story — that of a Georgia-born, New York City-raised singer who spent time as a Riker’s Island prison guard before her unlikely ascent to soul stardom later in life. That journey is vividly captured in a new documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, called “Miss Sharon Jones!” (Currently making its way across the festival circuit, it will get a wider release in August.)