Jackson Nickels grew up in rural southern Indiana where music was as much a part of life as eating and sleeping. Although television had made its way into most homes, radio was still king when it came to music. With a Regal acoustic guitar his daddy had given him, Jackson learned to play and sing while listening to every station he could find on the dial. He was exposed to all the hits of the 50’s and 60’s. From traditional folk, blues and country to rock-a-billy and early rock-and-roll. In his words, “I loved all kinds of music, it didn’t matter what the genre was called. I knew what I liked and didn’t like. The music had to make me want to move or tell a story that made me stop and think about what the artist was saying. The lyrics were always as important to me as the music.”
As he listened to those great hit songs and the stories they told, he realized that he already had stories of his own. Some were deep and soulful about his family during the Civil War and some had a humorous twist. He also realized that before he could share his stories he would have to spend considerable time learning the part of song writing and performing. He went to college, fronted some local cover groups, kept working on his music and song writing skills, got a degree in engineering and wound up in Huntsville, Alabama working on the Apollo Space Program. Strangely enough this all led to the start of his fifty year career as a singer/song writer.
No matter what else he was doing, Jackson was always involved with music. Huntsville was a melting pot of college graduates from all over the country, many with musical backgrounds similar to his own and it didn’t take long for him to become a founding member of a group called “The Precious Few.” (One of the other founding members was Larry Byrom, who would go on to become the lead guitarist for Steppen Wolf.” Their manager had contacts in the Dick Clark organization and they wound up on “The Dick Clark Summer Shower Of Stars Tour.” This gave Jackson a unique opportunity to spend time with successful singer/song writers and performers such as Neil Diamond, Billy Joe Royal and Neil Young. It became obvious to the group that they needed a song on the charts if they wanted to have a chance “to make it.” Jackson co-wrote and sang their Cashbox Top 40 hit “World Of Your Dreams.
After leaving “The Precious Few” in 1968, Jackson moved to Jacksonville, Florida, got another engineering job, “to pay the bills” and immediately immersed himself in Jacksonville’s exploding “Southern Rock” scene. He built the first studio in Jacksonville dedicated solely to band rehearsal and put together several very successful regional “Southern Rock” groups that he fronted throughout the 70’s. The studio became a hangout for many musicians who would later do stints with The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special and Molly Hatchet. Over the years these friendships lent encouragement to Jackson’s musical endeavors.
In 1976 Jackson decided it was time to test the waters for his music as a solo singer/songwriter with a play list of his original material interspersed with “cover” story songs that complimented his own. Successfully playing “Concert Listening Rooms” across the entire eastern half of the country from New Orleans to upstate New York reinforced the story-telling influence in his writing and the result is a true reflection of all the music genres he has loved through the years. His music falls under the broad genre of “Roots Music.” It was the music he grew up with and understands as a representation of the cultural diversity that shaped America. No matter a person’s accent, where they lived, their race or their religion, their music is “Roots Music” and that makes it America’s own, “Americana Music.”
This CD, “A Ghost In The Wind” is a compilation of Jackson’s first two CD’s, “Stories From the Road” and “Everlasting Love.” He is currently working on his third CD “The Journey.” Together the trilogy will present the complete range of his music from airy acoustic ballads to full energy southern rock and blues. This CD was mastered by Grammy Award winning engineer, Bruce Hensal.