Q&A with Georgia bluesman Willie Jackson - elements of traditional blues with musings on contemporary life

"I feel that the impact on racial lines is that we all have problems and situations, but life goes on with or without us. I want to affect people through being able to get a chuckle out of my lyrics and not take everything so seriously."

Willie Jackson: All In the Blues

Willie Jackson is a native of Savannah, Georgia Music has been a huge part of his life since his early years in church. He often found himself playing drums and singing in the choir. Willie has always been a prolific songwriter. During his free time while working to support his family he wrote. In 2009 a tragic accident ended his previous career and he turned to the transcendence of music with song writing and learning bass guitar. Willie's original music combines clever lyrics with rhythms of Southern traditional soul stirring blues. Willie’s original music is in the South Georgia tradition of soul stirring blues with clever lyrics. His new album, All In the Blues, was released in 2021 and has already won 3 Indie Music Channel Awards! The album features 12 original songs written by Willie and features guest performances from Mary Davis from the SOS Band and Jimmy Williams from the band Brick.                                         (Photo: Willie Jackson)

Twelve original songs combining elements of traditional blues with musings on contemporary life. Willie can be heard at various venues in Coastal Georgia and South Carolina, usually with a four piece group. He has shared the stage with Mac Arnold, former bass player for legendary Muddy Waters BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton, along with Willie's latest original songs. The Tybee Blues Band originally started with musicians mostly residing on Tybee getting together to jam in local bars, playing covers of some of the greats like Muddy Waters, BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton along with Willie’s latest original songs. The members change from time to time, but we often have Ace Andersson, playing blues harmonica, Zach Jones delivering his drumming expertise, Tybee’s own Michael Moody on lead guitar and Stanley Pierce, one of the best bass players in the area, completing our rhythm section.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues (and Afro-American music) influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I'm influenced by the deep feeling of the poor black man enslaved or one generation removed from slavery, that didn’t have any other way to express themselves.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

I would describe my sound as old traditional but up-tempo to make you move a little. My creative drive is natural so I can't turn it on or off.

What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?

I hope the message of my music is that life is not always easy or fair, but we can still have a positive attitude. I hope they can smile and or laugh at real life situations.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

I don't have any memories that stand out but it's always fun when things are spontaneous and in the moment.

"The Georgia Blues is almost nonexistent because there are hardly any Blues clubs. Maybe a couple in Atlanta but none in Savannah where I'm located. But once I get in there, I always get a call back for more Bluesy fun." (Photo: Willie Jackson)

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I have only met Mack Arnold, an old Bluesman that used to play bass for Muddy Waters. I haven't received any advice that I can think of, just encouragement to continue doing what I do.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss the times when you could sing the slow Blues and pour your heart out as opposed to making people dance mostly. I don't have any fears for the future of the Blues, the Blues is alive and well.

What would you say characterizes Georgia blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

The Georgia Blues is almost nonexistent because there are hardly any Blues clubs. Maybe a couple in Atlanta but none in Savannah where I'm located. But once I get in there, I always get a call back for more Bluesy fun.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?

I've learned that you're not always compensated for what you do but if you really love what you do just keep pressing forward and don't let a few dollars get in your way.

What is the impact of Blues on the racial and socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

I feel that the impact on racial lines is that we all have problems and situations, but life goes on with or without us. I want to affect people through being able to get a chuckle out of my lyrics and not take everything so seriously.

Willie Jackson - Home

(Photo: Willie Jackson)

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