Carl Jackson documentary airs on Mississippi PBS

Carl Jackson, the pride of Louisville, MS, has been immortalized in a television documentary, Meet Carl Jackson, for Mississippi Public Broadcasting. A private showing of the movie that included family, friends, and state dignitaries was held on the house floor of the old Capitol building in Jackson, MS, on February 18. It aired on MPB for four consecutive nights last week.

The film’s namesake shared how the documentary came to fruition. ”John Gibson (of MPB) wanted to do a complimentary piece to Ken Burns’ Country Music. He contacted Bill Ellison of Grassroots radio and Bill suggested me.”

Gibson reached out to the singer/songwriter/producer/musician on June 15, 2019, and inquired about featuring his life in the music industry.

Jackson, feeling honored, responded, “Absolutely!”

The hour long narrative is a virtual who’s who of country music icons. There are comments from Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Tom T Hall, Marty Stuart, Rhonda Vincent, and a host of other A-listers in the music world. All are praising Jackson for the talents that he credits God for instilling in him. With so many responses, some interviewees had to be cut to keep the film within the 60 minute time frame.

“John told me there were 15 pages of single spaced dialogue that was cut down from 300 pages. He said that it was the first time he’d filmed a documentary where not one person turned down the opportunity to be interviewed,” The Mississippi native humbly admitted. “What can I say? I’ve been blessed to work with the greatest artists in the business and I’m honored that so many wonderful friends and heroes took part.”

The broadcast focuses primarily on Jackson’s impact on the music scene from his beginnings as a professional musician at age 14, performing on the road with Jim and Jesse, to his twelve years with Glen Campbell, to his song writing, his studio work, and to his present-day weekly gig at Nashville’s Station Inn.

Jackson has penned over 400 songs, including such crowd favorites as Little Mountain Church House, Erase the Miles, and I’m Not Over You. He has had his material recorded by numerous country and bluegrass performers, yet remains in awe of the full life that he has led.

“I had a great break to go with Jim and Jesse when I was just a kid. I traveled a lot with folks like Glen, Linda, Dolly, Emmylou, Ricky, and Vince. Overall, my greatest joy in music has been working with so many incredible artists in one form or another. Whether it’s traveling and performing live, or recording or producing, or writing, I’ve crossed paths with the best of the best! Seeing over 50 years in the business play out in front of me on film and realizing the friendships all those years have created is a blessing beyond words.”

Mississippi Public Broadcasting hopes the biographical piece will air nationally. Contact your local PBS station and request the documentary, Meet Carl Jackson.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.