Albert "Sonny" Burgess, who was an early pioneer of what became known as rockabilly music, has died in his native Arkansas. He was 88.
Burgess remained an active performer until July, when he fell at his home and was hospitalized, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.
Burgess, who died Friday, was among a group of singers in the mid-1950s who mixed rhythm and blues with country and western music. The sound became known as rockabilly and included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Burgess — who became a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame — signed with Sun Records in Memphis, where Presley, Cash and Lewis were among the artists under contract.
"I always heard my dad say that Sonny was one of the outstanding guys he worked with," Jerry Phillips, son of Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, told the Commercial Appeal. "Sonny had his own unique sound — which was the highest compliment Sam could give you. Sonny had a little bit of Howlin' Wolf in his singing, and of course my dad really liked that. ... He's going to be missed."
Graham lauded for 'mastery' in poetry
One of the country's most honored poets, Jorie Graham, has received a $100,000 lifetime achievement award — the Wallace Stevens Award for "proven mastery" in poetry. Graham's books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Dream of the Unified Field." The $25,000 Academy of American Poets Fellowship went to Ed Roberson and the $25,000 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize was given to Patrick Rosal for his collection "Brooklyn Antediluvian." The Marshall prize honors the best book of the previous year. Thomas E. Peterson won a $25,000 translation prize for his work on the poetry of Italian writer Franco Fortini. Sam Sax's "Bury It" won a $5,000 prize for best second book of poetry.
L.A. maestro Dudamel cancels U.S. tour
A four-city U.S. tour by classical music maestro Gustavo Dudamel is being canceled following President Nicolas Maduro's complaints about the Venezuela-born conductor's criticism of the government's crackdown on protests. Dudamel's tour with the government-backed Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra was set to begin Sept. 9 near Washington before continuing to Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Dudamel on Twitter Monday called the cancellation "heartbreaking" and said he would continue "to fight for a better Venezuela." Last week, Maduro blasted the Los Angeles Philharmonic's musical director, accusing him of being duped by Venezuela's enemies into criticizing the government that has for years been one of his biggest promoters.