SOUL SUR­VIVOR

Singer per­se­veres through sec­ond bout with can­cer

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - COVER STORY - By Bob Mehr

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.)

JA­COB BLICKENSTAFF

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