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Interview:
Music of her soul, and soul music, helps Sharon Jones kick cancer
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Less than a year ago, soul singer Sharon Jones was diagnosed with State Two pancreatic cancer and forced to postpone live dates with her band, the Dap-Tones, as well as the release of the group's fifth album, "Give the People What They Want."

But five months later, Jones and company were playing on a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float, and now the album is out and the band is on the road again, with all concerned marveling about the 57-year-old singer's speedy recovery.

"Yeah, it was quick to me, too," says the Georgia-born Jones, who worked as a corrections officer and armored car guard before starting to sing full-time in 1996. "If you would've seen me after the operation, from June to September, I couldn't even walk straight. They took out a foot and a half of my lower intestine, my hair was falling out, my eyelashes. It was tough.

"But it's amazing how you can will yourself to do what you have to do. And I was getting so much positive energy from the fans it was an inspiration for me to get out there faster."

Jones says he's "feeling great, all in all" though confesses to some fatigue while on the road. But she credits having a new album to promote and just the ability to make music in general with keeping her going.

"I figure God must've left me here 'cause I got nothing else to do," Jones explains. "My main thing is for the music industry to recognize soul music as today. They've got all these labels for R&B, funk, reggae, country, hip-hop, rap, but nothing for straight-up soul music, 'cause they say soul music died in the late 60s and early 70s and we're just out here imitating people from back then.

"Well, I'm not imitating anybody from back then. I'm a soul singer for now. So that's my goal and inspiration for being out here, and I'm gonna keep doing it for as long as I can."

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Paul Cebar perform Saturday, April 12, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22.50 in advance, $25 day of show. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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