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Rocky Jackson

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Biography

Rocky Jackson is a Texan. He’s been living in California for a long time, but he’ll still tell you he’s a Texan when all is said and done. Born in Austin, Rocky moved to the Detroit area in high school. What was supposed to be a summer visit turned into a nine-year stay. Then it was back to Austin for a few years, and eventually out to Los Angeles. What you’ve got as a result is a+b+c=d, with “d” equaling Rocky – Texas grit and intensity + Detroit rhythm and soul + LA polish and cool = Rocky Jackson.

Rocky wasn’t always “Rocky.” He was born Ernest Walter Jackson, III. Back then, Ernest was always searching the radio and juke boxes for Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, or John Lee Hooker. Seeing Ray Charles live at the Austin auditorium in 1963 was probably when the bug burrowed under his skin and Rocky realized that he wanted to be a musician.

Once in the Detroit area, Rocky hooked up with a guy in high school who taught him his first guitar chords and how to play folk music. Folk music, by nature, had to include the blues, and Rocky always felt the most natural doing the blues. Rocky joined a “jug” band, The Subourbon Jug Band, and played around for a couple of years in high school.

The popular coffee house scene in Detroit gave Rocky the chance to see some of the greatest blues artists that ever lived. Rocky will tell you that one of the biggest, most profound moments of his life came in Chicago when, as a 19 year old with fake ID, he got into a club with his sister visiting from Texas and saw Muddy Waters live and got to meet Muddy and shake his hand. Rocky asked Muddy to play “something by Robert Johnson,” so he did.

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