Kenny Jackson is a self-taught fiddler, banjoist, guitarist, and singer – a player of uncommon subtlety and individuality known for rendering old-time Appalachian music with true spirit and vitality. Not content to merely repeat the performances of the past, Jackson draws on the deep well of traditional music for his own inspired interpretations and new compositions, contributing to the larger living tapestry of vernacular music.
Since the mid-1980s, Kenny has been a part of several outstanding string bands including Leftwich, Higginbotham, and Jackson; The Rhythm Rats (with Paula Bradley and Whitt Mead), and Big Medicine (with Joe Newberry, Jim Collier, LaNelle Davis, and Bobb Head). Lately he has been making music with Erynn Marshall, Carl Jones, and Bobb Head in a new band known as the Bow Benders.
Kenny has appeared at numerous festivals including MerleFest, the Ulster-American Folk Park in Northern Ireland, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Wheatland Music Festival, and the Appalachian String Band Music Festival. He’s also appeared on broadcasts such as A Prairie Home Companion, ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, BBC-Belfast Radio, the Renfro Valley Barn Dance, WPAQ’s Merry-Go-Round, and the WWVA Jamboree. Add that to the many concerts, dances, and other venues where he’s played, and you get a picture of a seasoned performer.
Passing the music along has long been a passion for Kenny, and over the years he has been a mentor to many emerging old-time musicians, teaching private lessons in person and online, as well as at workshops and music camps around the US.
Kenny can be heard on a number of recordings, including his 2004 solo CD Over the Mountain; on the Big Medicine recordings Pine to Pine, Fever in the South and Too Old to be Controlled; and I Believe I’ll Go Back Home and Pretty Crowing Chicken, with the Rhythm Rats.