Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Family Tradition


Billy Jackson during a benefit gig two weeks ago.

Music runs deep in the Jackson clan and despite a rough start, young Billy Jackson wants to keep that going. Billy Jackson is the son of local legend T.J. Jackson, who passed away two years ago. When Billy was growing up he used to watch his father and uncles on stage having a good time while entertaining the crowds who were dancing, having an equally good time. That was when he got the bug.

"I miss the old days, seeing my father and uncle up there jamming with the boys just rocking out and thinking to myself, I wanna do that for the rest of my life," he said.

The Senior Jackson got his start playing with local bands in the 1970's and then moved onto the Little River Mohawk Band. It was during this time Billy caught the music bug.

A seven-year-old Billy was sometimes just selling tickets and volunteering at these local gigs, and just when he decided he wanted that life, he suffered an ear injury which caused him to lose 75% of his hearing. He soldiered on and underwent years of therapy, never giving up his dream of being on stage.

"I play through feeling the beat and vibrations of the music and just let it take me from there," said Jackson.

He was one of the first to appear at Darry White's Garden Greens Organics at the Peace Tree Mall. There is a "Green Room" set up and local musicians come to play and be recorded by White for Facebook Live.

The inspiration for the song writing comes from Akwesasne and his family.

"When I'm composing a song, I like to sit down in front of my woodstove where it's quiet so I can reflect on my memories or life experiences. The outdoors is another favorite place. I love the sounds of nature, especially the rain. It grounds, inspires and heals me," said Jackson.

The song he played for the Garden Greens Organics session was called "Drinking Blues," but the inspiration behind that were not the sounds of nature, but from a darker place.

"I wrote it after my dad passed. I was stuck in a depression. It's real, it's for the people, from the people, and a lot of everything else."

The title was originally called "Drinking Booze" but he changed the title because it sounded better and he wanted it to relate, not just to people, but also to life in general.

Besides dad and uncle Leroy (Jackson), Billy's musical influences are Jimi Hendrix (You can hear some of Redhouse in Drinking Blues) Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bush and Kid Rock.

He does not belong to a band for now and enjoys "jamming" with other up-and-coming local musicians who are also getting exposure at Garden Greens Organics. These sessions also pop up from time to time on Facebook Live.

Memorial tribute to T.J. Jackson and Russell "Hoss" Mitchell.

Spending time getting together with other musicians is just the start for Jackson. In a few months he plans to hit the record companies with demos, and if all goes well, might be in the company of some of the music greats. T.J. Jackson was on the way up and with his passing Billy is looking to pick up the ball.

"I'm actually pitching songs to BMI in Nashville, Tennessee. I'm picking up for my dad; he has got three songs that Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson are looking at. I'm going to do this in his honor," said Jackson.

When he does hit the big time Jackson will have his family to thank for his success.

"I am so blessed to have my family behind me 100% right from the start. My daddy sang to us all and his musical influence was imprinted onto my soul and I'm letting it soar. I don't know where music is going to go for me from here, but if it does, well, I will continue for the people in my family."


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