Country Artist Carl Jackson

 Multiple Grammy award winner, Carl Jackson, was born in the small town of Louisville, Mississippi on September 18, 1953. By the time he was eight years old, thanks to his father’s influence and a burning desire inside, he was already well on his way to being an accomplished musician.

At age fourteen, after playing backstage at a local concert for Jim and Jesse McReynolds, he was asked to be a Virginia Boy by the Bluegrass greats and soon found himself on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. He played banjo for Jim and Jesse for almost five years before joining The Sullivan Family for a short time as a guitarist. Carl then broke away and journeyed to Columbus, Ohio to form a group called “The Country Store” with close friends Jimmy Gaudreau, Bill Rawlins, and the late Keith Whitley. The band in its original form would last little more than a week, for just around the corner lay another big break for the boy from the hills of Mississippi.

Glen Campbell came into town to play the state fair and being huge fans of his, Carl and Keith went out to see the show. Afterwards they ran into Glen’s banjo player, Larry McNeely, who persuaded Carl to come by the next day for a jam session. After picking for a while, Larry suddenly told Carl he had been looking for someone to take his place with Glen because he was tired of traveling and that Carl was the man. Larry took him to meet and play for Campbell and Glen hired him on the spot. For the next twelve years, Glen featured Carl everywhere he went as “the greatest banjo player in the world”. 

During his years with Glen, Carl started to concentrate on his vocal and songwriting abilities as well as his musicianship. He recorded two albums for Capitol Records, (“Carl Jackson: Banjo Player” and “Old Friends”), three for Sugar Hill, (“Banjo Man: A Tribute To Earl Scruggs”, “Song Of The South”, and “Banjo Hits”), and then in 1984 his signing with Columbia Records produced a couple of top forty country songs, (“She’s Gone, Gone, Gone” and “Dixie Train”).

It was at this time that Carl made the decision to leave Glen Campbell and strike out on his own. It has turned out to be a very wise one. As a vocalist, you can hear him on recordings with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Garth Brooks, Janie Fricke, Dolly Parton, and countless others. Carl’s work has even be heard at baseball and football games as he has penned theme songs and jingles for the California Angels (“California 9 to 5”), (“Dreams”) and (“Something To Shout About”) and the Ole Miss Rebels (” ‘Neath The Oaks In The Grove”).

Jackson’s “Little Mountain Church House” was voted the 1990 International Bluegrass Music Association song of the year and a more recent version by George Hamilton IV was a 2005 Dove Award nominee for Bluegrass Song of the Year. On February 25th, 1992, for his album with John Starling entitled “Spring Training”, Carl was awarded his first Grammy. A few months later he received a Dove Award for Southern Gospel song of the year, “Where Shadows Never Fall”, recorded by Glen Campbell. The beautiful ballad, “No Future In The Past”, by male vocalist of the year Vince Gill was a huge songwriting success for Carl and was named the #1 Country Song of the Year for 1993 by Radio & Records magazine. In 1998, after hearing Carl’s demo, Garth Brooks decided to include the Jackson spiritual entitled “Fit For A King” in his “Sevens” project.

All in all, Carl has had hundreds of his songs recorded, with sales in excess of fifty million units.  A poll conducted by Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine several years ago found Carl to have written eight of the top 200 Bluegrass songs of all time.

Simply Bluegrass
Episode 8 Featuring Carl Jackson & Larry Cordle
Episode 7 Featuring The Church Sisters with Carl Jackson
Episode 7 Featuring Orthophonic Joy (Carl Jackson / The Church Sisters / The Shotgun Rubies / Corbin Hayslett)
Simply Bluegrass Episode 1
Kickin’ Back Episode 1
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