Country artist speaks with Blue Echo Radio after station revival

Trent Price

Contributor

tprice2@unca.edu

Photo courtesy of carljackson.net
Country artist Carl Jackson sporting his Grammy award.

Country music recording artist Carl Jackson joined a DJ at UNC Asheville’s Blue Echo Radio in Nashville, Tennessee for an interview about his life and career in the music industry. This interview joins a wave of new content streaming from Blue Echo following its re-establishment this year. 

Jackson, originally from Louisville, Mississippi, started his musical career in 1967 with bluegrass duo Jim & Jesse before spending a 12-year stint with country artist Glen Campbell. Now, Jackson plays regularly in Nashville and is a well-respected record producer and songwriter. 

 “I always give Glen credit. He made such a difference in my life,” Jackson said “He gave me a lot of confidence. He showed me a lot about how to deal with people, how to be good to people.”

Jackson credited Campbell with much of his success in the music industry including his songwriting success. He worked with Campbell from 1972-1984. During this time, Campbell had such hits as “Southern Nights” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

“He also made a big difference in my songwriting because he paid attention to the things I wrote,” Jackson said. “He signed me to a publishing deal and all those things.”

Jackson remained close with Campbell throughout his life and produced Campbell’s last studio album Adiós before Campbell died on Aug. 8, 2017.

“It was a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to do an album on Glen,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to find somebody who doesn’t know who Glen Campbell is, but at the same time, I wanted the younger generation to know about this guy. I wanted to do something so pure that just focused on his voice and he came through with flying colors. Glen had Alzheimer’s and he forgot lyrics, but he did not forget melodies. That is something I will always cherish, doing that album.”

The two-time Grammy winning artist also talked about possible new music on the horizon but didn’t reveal any details.

“I have plans to do some more things, quite a few more things, but I can’t really talk about them yet,” Jackson said.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting produced a documentary about Jackson with star-studded guest interviews. The documentary premiers in Mississippi later this month.

“I am so honored. I’m honored in particular by all the people who agreed to be interviewed,” Jackson said. “A few ‘little known’ people like Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and people like that and it’s like ‘that’s pretty neat!”

Jackson’s influence also reaches into the UNCA community. 

 “I have heard of Carl Jackson, but I think I’m in the minority of college students who know him. I believe my first introduction to him was hearing his collaborations with Emmylou Harris when I was young. I am a long-time banjo player, and I’ve been learning his tunes and listening to his music for years. I really love his Earl Scruggs tribute,” said Lily James, a 21-year-old senior at UNCA and the director of external affairs at Blue Echo Radio. 

The interview comes as part of a new wave of student DJs. The station currently has more than 25 student DJs as well as more non-DJ staff members. James said Blue Echo Radio received pitches for shows about Dungeons and Dragons, queer punk, pop history, bluegrass, country and other topics.

“We are definitely in a Blue Echo re-up period,” James said. “I think having a radio station is really important for a student body, even a small one like UNCA. It invites students to shine a spotlight on their music, interests, ideas and talents, which can be really validating and powerful.”

Some faculty also said the presence of a student-led radio station is important.

 “Blue Echo is our student run on campus internet-only radio station, which I think is a great opportunity for all of our students to have a voice and to reach an audience without being encumbered by the restrictions of an FCC license,” said Don Diefenbach, professor and chair of the mass communication department at UNCA.  

Diefenbach also said Blue Echo empowers students by giving them a platform to reach a world audience over the internet.

“I think a radio station can really help build community among our student populations and showcase a diversity of interests,” said Melodie Galloway, a professor in the music department at UNCA. “The more we can connect the university with the city and let our broader community know all the good things that are happening here, the better. A radio platform can help make that happen.”

Diefenbach said having a radio station on campus has a positive impact on the student body by offering a valuable creative outlet.

“This is a way for those who want their voice and the voices of others to tell the stories to have that outlet,” Diefenbach said.

Galloway gave importance to student-led organizations. She compared membership in these organizations, specifically the radio station, to entrepreneurship and undergraduate research.

“I think anything that is spearheaded and led by a student is akin to or along the lines of not only entrepreneurship, but undergraduate research. The student is actually doing the planning and organization of it and, I think that’s really commendable. It gives you real world experience,” Galloway said. “There are a whole lot of good reasons to have a radio station.”   

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