Jon Hensley, an artist manager known for his work with Shooter Jennings and Wanda Jackson, has died in his home in Bowling Green, Kentucky. A 911 call was made just before 10 a.m. Monday (6-1) morning, and when authorities arrived at his home on Nutwood St., Hensley was unresponsive. A cause of death has yet to be released, but the death is being preliminarily called “accidental.” He was 31-years-old.
Jon Hensley is given credit for helping to revitalize the career of Wanda Jackson when the Queen of Rockabilly began to perform and record again after a lull in her career. Wanda Jackson recorded an album with Jack White called The Party Ain’t Over in 2011, and worked with Justin Townes Earle on 2012’s Unfinished Business, putting her back into national prominance. “Jon’s very valuable to me and the resurgence of my career,” Wanda Jackson is quoted as saying. “We’re kindred spirits.”
Hensley also managed Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers and The Dirt Daubers—two acts involving performer JD Wilkes, and also managed Gary Bennett of BR549, and Goose Creek Symphony. John previously worked under the management, publicity, and distribution company Thirty Tigers.
Recently Hensley was best known as the manager and right hand man of Waylon Jenning’s son Shooter Jennings. Along with managing the second-generation performer and regularly traveling with him on the road, Hensley helped to operate and launch Shooter’s record label BCR Media that specialized in vinyl, tapes, and Record Store Day releases.
Jon Hensley was also a member of the Honorary Order of Kentucky Colonels—an honorary aide-de-camp to the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Update: Funeral services will be Friday, June 5, 2015, at 1:00PM at Tucker Funeral Home in Central City, with Rev. Justin Latham officiating. Burial will be in Eades Cemetery in Greenville. Visitation will be Thursday, from 5:30-8PM at the funeral home. Online condolences may be made at www.tuckerfuneralhomes.com.
(6-2-15) 3:30 AM CDT: Posted by Trigger:
First off, I want to offer my sincerest condolences to the friends, family, and loved ones of Jon Hensley, including his long-time girlfriend Mary Sparr, and anyone affected by his tragic, and untimely death. Any time a life is lost, it is a tragedy that transcends any and all previous regards, and should unite everyone in mourning and deep reflective thoughts about the preciousness and fragility of life.
When I heard that Jon Hensley had passed, I felt it was my obligation as a journalist, once I had confirmed the news, to share this tragic story with the public so that thoughts and prayers could be sent to loved ones, and the focusing of attention on the life lost and and the accomplishments achieved by Jon Hensley in his tragically brief but impactful life could come sharply into focus, and we all could attempt to learn and grow from the passing of another soul.
The posted obituary was not meant to be the final chapter on Jon Hensley’s life from this site. That is the reason it was prefaced, and concluded with verbiage explaining that this was a developing story. However because of the issues that have arisen due to this post, and the specific requests from Jon Hensley’s girlfriend Mary Sparr, I decided to temporarily remove the originally-posted obituary for a brief period.
(Update 6/2 12:20 PM CDT): Due to continued attacks and mischaracterizations on the content of the obituary, I have since reposted it.)
In the obituary posted by Saving Country Music, there was nothing but reverence and respect shown towards Jon Hensley, his family, and the circumstances surrounding his passing. Nonetheless, the post was used as a rallying point for a mob mentality to characterize the obituary as slander, and to attack the integrity of Saving Country Music. Subsequently I have personally received death threats, threats of hacking the site, destroying the site’s social network properties, and other ill will, some promising that this would happen even if I removed the post. All one has to do is navigate to the comments section of this article to see very specific examples of these reactions to what otherwise was a very commonplace act of journalism—writing a obituary and a news story for an individual that has unfortunately passed on.
Because of these specific threats and characterizations of the article, it became imperative that I repost the original obituary unedited, to prove there was absolutely no acrimony or malicious intent in the post. I have been informed by numerous people that they have taken screen shots of the post, so any concerns of future editing by SCM before posting are null and void. As concerned as I want to be for the wishes of the grieving, it is my journalistic duty to report the news, and to also uphold the freedoms bestowed by me through the 1st Amendment.
This issue has shaken me to core, has caused me great personal concern and anguish, but it is nothing compared to the anguish of the grieving family, friends, and loved ones affected by this tragedy. I send nothing but love and hopes of healing to everyone touched by the death of Jon Hensley, and hope we can all come together and learn from his unfortunate passing, as opposed to using it as a flashpoint to seize on past grievances.
Kyle “Trigger” Coroneos