UPDATE: James Hand passed away Monday morning (6-8). READ MORE.
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Country music legend James “Slim” Hand is currently in a Waco, TX hospital suffering from issues due to congestive heart failure. The 68-year-old singer and songwriter is beloved for being one of the most authentic performers and people in country music. His former wife Kayla Allen is with him at the hospital. They have two sons together, including professional bull rider Tracer Hand.
“Folks, we would like to ask you all to keep James in your thoughts and prayers,” an official statement reads. “Without going into too much detail, he’s currently in the hospital and in critical condition. It started out as a heart issue, and has since led to some other complications.”
James Hand is a regular performer in the central Texas honky tonk circuit, and was scheduled to play this upcoming Saturday at the new outdoor Sagebrush bar in Austin. An Ameripolitan award winner, he’s opened the Ameripolitan Awards every year of the event.
James Hand began performing as a teenager, but worked mostly in the rodeo circuit before releasing his debut album in 1999 at the age of 47. In 2006 he was signed to Rounder Records, and released The Truth Will Set You Free produced by Texas legends Ray Benson and Lloyd Maines. He subsequently released Shadow on the Ground (2009), Mighty Lonesome Man (2012), and a gospel album Stormclouds in Heaven in 2014.
Country artist Charley Crockett payed tribute to James Hand in 2019 by featuring him in a video for the song “How I Got to Memphis.” Crockett was inspired to record the song after seeing James Hand perform it. “I think James Hand is the greatest living Honky-Tonker, and he had me in tears with the way he was singing those lyrics. He chokes me up every time I hear him sing.”
British country singer Ags Connolly also paid tribute to Slim in 2014 with the song “I Saw James Hand.”