Up-and-comer Jackie Lee at Oddbody’s

Photo: Country singer, Jackie Lee, takes the stage at Oddbody’s this Friday

By Lisa Bennett

The early 1920s was an interesting time in American history. World War I was officially over, the country was becoming more urban than it was rural, and inventions like home refrigeration, penicillin, and radio were thrusting the world into a technological revolution. As is usually the case with major social shifts, the artistic world was also changing to reflect the new era. The music world even added a whole new genre to its repertoire. What we now call “Country” music first appeared in the early 1920s in the southeastern part of the United States. It was a blend of traditional folk music and blues, with never-before-heard-of combinations of steel guitar, harmonica, and fiddles, all performed with dazzling new beats. The very first country songs to be recorded commercially were “Turkey in the Straw” and “Arkansas Traveler”. The songs were recorded for Victor Records by musicians, A.C. Robertson and his friend Henry Gilliland. The record was officially released in April of 1923. “Hillbilly” music as it was originally called, became so popular that businessman George D. Hay, started a one-hour radio broadcast on WSM to air it. “The Grand Ole Opry” was founded on November 28, 1925 and has persisted as the longest-running radio broadcast in American history to date, “The Grand Ole Opry” has produced some of the most famous names in country music including Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynn. For country artist, Jackie Lee, performing on “The Grand Ole Opry” with his father was an opportunity of a lifetime. He described playing The Grand Ole Opry as a lot like winning a Grammy. It was a special moment he will never forget, says Jackie Lee, “My dad and I even cried over it. He was able to play with me on stage the very first time, so we got to debut at the Grand Ole Opry together, which was very special.”

A family affair

Jackie Lee grew up in a family of musicians. His little brother is a pop singer and his aunts and uncles on his father’s side are also avid musicians. His father, who is also a Pastor, taught him how to sing and play guitar. He jokes about how he and his dad would hang out in their living room, his dad playing his beloved guitar and Jackie sitting beside him doing his best to play his little toy guitar—one of their sessions was actually recorded on video and can be viewed on YouTube. Singing and performing were just a part of their everyday lives and the family traveled around the Southeastern part of the United States, performing wherever they could. They did a lot of gospel music, often performing in churches. Jackie Lee’s first performance took place at his Aunt’s wedding when he was only three years old. “I am very, very blessed to have the household that I grew up in,” says Jackie Lee.

Tragedy and triumph

Just like everyone else, life has been full of ups and downs for Mr. Lee. He recently lost his mom which has left a gaping hole in his life. “Music turned into an outlet for me.” said Jackie Lee, but that isn’t keeping him from pursuing his dreams. His song, “Getting Over You” has done well so far this year and with good reason. Lee has somehow managed to take a breakup song and turn it into a catchy, upbeat country song that draws you in and leaves you singing along despite yourself, and that’s really hard to do, especially in the country music genre. Catchy refrains and upbeat tunes aren’t the only reasons folks are really warming up to this artist. Jackie Lee has a fun, modern voice with a down-home southern feel that appeals to both country and pop music fans. He is the Ed Sheeran of the country music world and fans are eating it up. He has already appeared on the Country Music Billboard chart at 57 which is a true compliment for any up-and-coming artist. And while he humbly admits he is honored by the attention and praise he is getting, his dream to join the ranks of the stars is part of what drives him to give his fans his very best at every show.

He will be appearing as a special guest with Drew Baldridge and he plans to delight fans with some of his favorite songs. When asked what his goal for the show was, Jackie Lee responded, “I want everyone to forget all about their troubles. Let’s all have fun!” Jackie Lee might be a musician from the 21st century, but his music and attitude echoes the greatness of many of the early stars. If his mom is watching over him from above, there’s no doubt she is proud of him.

The Drew Baldridge and Jackie Lee concert takes place Friday Nov. 3 at Oddbody’s Music Room located at 5418 Burkhardt Road in Dayton. The show starts at 8 p.m. with tickets starting at $15. For more information please visit www.Oddbodys.com

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Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at LisaBennett@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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