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John Kilzer, Memphis Singer and Songwriter, Dies at 62

John Kilzer performing at the Music and Heritage Festival at the Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis, TN.
Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns

John Kilzer performing at the Music and Heritage Festival at the Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis, TN.

John Kilzer, a singer and songwriter from Tennessee whose music career spanned 30 years and who became a pastor after undergoing drug recovery, has died. He was 62.

Kilzer’s death was disclosed Tuesday by St. John’s United Methodist Church in Memphis, where he served as an associate pastor for recovery ministries. A cause of death was not disclosed. The church said in a statement that it was a sudden death.

According to biographies on websites for the church and Archer Records, the Jackson, Tennessee-native recorded two albums under the Geffen label, “Memory in the Making” in 1988 and “Busman’s Holiday” in 1991. Roseanne Cash, Trace Adkins and Maria Muldaur recorded his songs.

John Kilzer and the Scars were scheduled to play at the Beale Street Music Festival in May.

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