Writer of the Week: Jon Jackson

jon jackson

Videos by American Songwriter

Besides writing songs and recording, Jon Jackson ran for United States Congress in Tennessee. Don’t let Jackson’s humor fool you, he’s a serious songwriter and we’re honored he took a few minutes to catch up with us.

How did you begin writing songs? What was the first song you wrote?

My aunt gave me a green and black carpeted love seat because I didn’t have any furniture. I wrote my first song sitting on that couch. It was called “Fool’s Song” and it was about a girl. I’ve never recorded it though because it’s terrible.

Did you listen to a lot of political songwriters like Guthrie and Seeger when you were younger?

I was more into Megadeth and Cypress Hill when I was younger. I just tossed that ham in the frying pan like spam and when it was done; damn, I felt like the son of Sam.

Who do you listen to now?

I’ve had the same mix CD in my car now for about 3 weeks. It has Cory Branan, Ani DiFranco, and The Magnetic Fields on it.

Do you co-write?

I am the least productive when I try to sit down with another person and write a song, it never works out. But if someone says something in conversation that I like and I use it in a song I’ll credit them.

If you could co-write with any living songwriter today, who would you select and why?

Does Stephen Colbert count? It seems like I remember seeing him rap once. I bet we could write a big country hit for Toby Keith together.

When you’re out and about, how are taking down ideas for songs?

I’m not. I figure if a song wants to get written, then it’ll show up when I have time to write it down.

How long will you work on a song before demoing it?

A lot of my songs get written in a few hours, and usually I’ll record a rough version of it as soon as it’s done.

What are you favorite books of the past few months?

I’ll start multiple books at the same time and which ever one grabs my attention I’ll finish first. Right now I’m reading Profit over People by Noam Chomsky and The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. They’re both great but the C.S. Lewis book surprised me, it’s not at all what I thought it would be.


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