Allen Shelton

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Allen Shelton (July 2, 1936 - November 21, 2009) was an American five-string banjo player known for being a member of Jim & Jesse's Virginia Boys since the 1960s.

Shelton's picking style was more experimental than some other bluegrass banjo players. He enjoyed creating unusual sounds including adapting steel guitar licks into his solos.[1] His playing was described as "bouncy".


Shelton played the banjo from an early age. His father, Troy Shelton was a first class guitar player. In the 1950s, Allen performed together with Hack Johnson and the Tennesseans, and later, with Jim Eanes and Mac Wiseman.[1] He joined Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys, and began recording for Columbia Records on December 7, 1960. In 1966, Jim & Jesse had an offer to record with the Nashville Symphony and Shelton left the band in protest. He retired from music business and began working as a machinist and welder. About ten years later he found himself once more on the road with Jim & Jesse, making records and having a good time. He made his first solo album on Rounder Records in 1976. In September or October 2009, Allen was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Allen died on November 21, 2009, according to his daughter-in-law.


  1. ^ a b Trischka, Tony, "Allen Schelton", Banjo Song Book, Oak Publications, 1977
  • Tony Trischka, Pete Wernick, Masters of the 5-String Banjo, Oak Publications, (1988)

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