Jesse Jackson

Being local troubadour Jesse Jackson may not be easy, but it sure seems fun. Chicks come out of the woodwork, cats hang thick by your side, and songs slide straight out of the sky. You get to rise at dusk. And every week, you assemble a fluid bunch of fine-tuned players and hold court at hip little hot spots all over the tricounty area.

You strap on a banjo, take a stool, close your eyes, and begin singing our souls to wake. At first, there's but a few handfuls of the faithful, gripped to silence by the hand-slap of the traps, the moan of the tuba, the urge in your voice. Then, as if by hoodoo, others are drawn — a trickle, a ripple, finally a stream. The joint begins to burst at the seams. It's like watching the birth of a secret.

But Jackson has to be the least best-kept secret in town. And how could he not be? For almost nine years, the cat has been plying his trademark blend of urban folk from county line to county line. Name the place, the street, a time, a date, and Jackson has played there.

If this were Omaha, Jackson would be signed to Saddle Creek Records and swapping spit-takes with the likes of Bright Eyes, Cursive, and Two Gallants. If this were Brooklyn, he'd be on Young God Records, where Akron/Family and their ilk all roost. But no matter. "There's Jacuzzi Boys, Rachel Goodrich, Raffa and Rainer — who do great acoustic Wednesday at Churchill's," says the slender songster. "This scene's got a lot of potential."

 
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