Kristine Jackson
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Kristine Jackson

Cleveland, OH | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Cleveland, OH | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Duo Americana Indie




"WJER Radio reviewer Amy Smith Wrote of Krisitne Jackson"

“Jackson wowed the audience with her soulful and gritty vocals and guitar, she more than proved herself worthy of opening up for The King of Blues!” - WJER Radio Review

"WCPN Interview with Dee Perry on Applause Radio"

"She doesn't need anything more than the guitar, the voice and the stories. An old message with a modern package" - WCPN 90.3 With Dee Perry

""Feeling the Blues""

" ......... One night in 2001, Norm asks me when I'm going to get my own band. I lied and told him I had a band. So he booked us. I got home that night and called Mary Bridget. We had three weeks to put a band together," Jackson said, laughing at the memory.

That band became Blues on Purpose, a name taken from a Nina Simone song, and would spawn Basically Blue with Kristine Jackson and the Mary Bridget Davies Group. The latter two groups are drawing crowds and rave reviews from fans all over Northeast Ohio.

Last week, Jackson and Davies returned to the Parkview to talk about their current popularity in the Cleveland world of blues. The two have a musical history
together and separate futures full of promise.

Jackson and Davies are both 26 and from Northeast Ohio. They love music, specialize in the blues and love to perform. They've shared the stage almost a hundred times in many incarnations of bands at many venues. Now they each front their own five-piece groups.

.... Jackson sings and plays trumpet, fluegelhorn and guitar. When she gets the band cranked up, Basically Blue owns the musical territory where the borders between blues, country and soul become indistinguishable. Jackson also performs as a duo, Acoustically Blue, with her sax player, Rob Williams. If Elvis and Bonnie Raitt had a baby, it would be Kristine Jackson.

Jackson grew up in Elyria and had her first musical exposure at her family's Abbey Road Baptist Church. She played trumpet in the Midview High School marching band. After a year of music study at the University of Akron, she flunked out, the result of too many jam nights.

The aspiring musician worked many "straight" jobs before she was able to make a living as a full-time musician. She worked in the trades and was a mover for United Van Lines for five years. But her most fortuitous gig was being a line cook at Savannah Bar and Grill in Westlake.

"I used to make wings for the Bad Boys of Blues. That's how we met.
I learned a lot from those guys," said Jackson.

"Michael Bay and Michael Barrack, they got me to go to jam nights where I picked up so much just by watching and listening. I played a lot of wrong notes before I found the right ones."

Trumpeter and bassist Barrack remembers fondly the early days with Jackson and Davies. But he appreciates what's happening with them now even more.

"They are burgeoning stars, for sure, and taking the whole blues scene in Cleveland to another level. They are the next generation," he said.

"Mary Bridget always kicks ass. She knocks the audience out every time. Kristine is a triple threat. She plays, sings and is writing good original material at a very young age. Both of them are carrying on a very cool tradition."

..... Saxophonist Williams is considered by many to be one of the finest players in the area. He and Jackson have an otherworldly musical rapport that yields amazing results for listeners.

"I've been playing professionally for 44 years," Williams said after a recent gig with Jackson. "And I have never worked so hard in my life as when I play with Kristine. She commits. She makes you get into it. But you know what? I've never felt so good as when I play with her."

Back at the Parkview, the discussion turns to the two women's plans. They both have recording sessions lined up. The Mary Bridget Davies Group recently came
off the road with impressive reviews that have the singer pumped.

"The goal is to grow beyond being a bar band. We've played the bars, and we love the bars, but I play my shows like a concert, because that's where I want to be," Jackson said.

Norm Plonski looks up wistfully at the wall behind the stage. There's an
old Ohio license plate that reads "Bluz 24-7."

"It was a gift from Kristine," he said.

For more about Kristine Jackson on the Web, go to

Plain Dealer reporter Michael Heaton: - The Plain Dealer


By Cris Glaser

A stint in Holland last year to sing with a Dutch blues band was just the inspiration trumpeter Kristine Jackson needed before forming Basically Blue."I had the urge to do more than just play be a horn player," says Jackson about her role in Blues on Purpose, the band she founded in 2002. "I needed to search for something more." Today, Jackson sings in the smaller Acoustically Blue, when she's not fronting the jazzier Basically Blue (see a theme here?) quintet. "She has a way of making you enjoy how she lays it down." says Buddy Miles Express bandleader Mark "Muggie Doo" Leach. "If the rest of the band isn't on their p's and q's, you can bet she's walking away as MVP of the night." - Scene Magazine

"Cleveland FreeTimes Music Awards"

Nominated Best Blues Band/Horn Player 2008
Voted Best Blues Band/Horn Player 2007
Nominated Best Horn Player 2004/05/06 - FreeTimes Magizine

"The Un-Blues"

If you haven’t heard Kristine Jackson belt out a tune, you’re missing the local music scene’s next rising star
By Andy Netzel

She’s been on this stage countless times before. It’s the stage she talked her way onto for her first paid gig. But Kristine Jackson’s cheeks are shaded chianti in embarrassment.

Austin “Walkin’ Cane” Charanghat has wandered off in the middle of their set, and she’s sitting behind her guitar, looking fully like half a duo. Walkin’ Cane is sharing a story with some Parkview Nite Club regulars, and ignoring the look piercing through the back of his skull.

Kristine tries to get the crowd to cheer him back to the stage. He waves her off without turning his head or stopping his story. “OK, fine,” she says. The crimson leaves her cheeks just as fast as it arrived, and she picks at her guitar, belting out a soulful, bluesy tune.

It seems like everyone in the West Side bar knew it was coming except her. Her voice — too strong, too raw, too big to come out of such a little bitty girl — captures the audience, brings them along for the three minutes, and then Walkin’ Cane slides back in his seat, a smile filling his face, and a knowing glance thrown her way.

Kristine Jackson is the un-blues star. The 28-year-old is modest, and yet, even when she’s speaking humble words, she emits an aura of star power. Oddly enough, she sings the blues better now that she’s overcome the devil inside her, having faced a traumatic past head on.

“I first saw her back in October at a benefit, and I was blown away by both her singing and guitar playing,” recalls Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum vice president and chief curator Jim Henke. “It’s surprising to hear that voice come out of that body.”

Kristine Jackson has wandered through the musical transition that has taken her from elementary school choir flunky to up-and-coming blues artist. She started playing the trumpet in the fifth grade and evolved into a high school band geek.“When I was a senior in high school, my band director gave me a few records, vinyl: Buddy Miles, B.B. King,” she says. “I remember asking my dad for his old record player. I’d spend hours up there listening to old records, then I dug out my dad’s old albums like the James Gang, CCR, Peter Frampton and a whole bunch of classic rock stuff. A whole new world opened to me.”

After graduating from Midview High School near Elyria, she briefly attended the University of Akron. But professors guided her toward classical music, so she dropped out to jam in bars with her trumpet. She moved in with Walkin’ Cane because he needed a roommate, and her musical world expanded again. This time, she heard the painful, beautiful sound of Tom Waits’ voice drift out of speakers through an open window as she and Walkin’ Cane sucked down beers on their porch. Soon, she started picking at his guitars that he left around the house.

She kept playing jam nights and, when Norm Plonski, owner of the Parkview Nite Club and Major Hooples, said he’d book her when she got a band, she told him she already had one. “I called up a few of my friends that I’d been jamming with, and I told them we needed to get a band together because we have a gig.”

And Kristine Jackson became a paid musician. The band was called Blues on Purpose, and they developed a small following.

Kristine explains that music has always been an escape for her. Between the ages of 3 and 7, she turned to it as a way to put the sexual abuse she was suffering from relatives out of her mind — first by listening, mostly to Majic 105.7 FM. Later, performing helped her put it out of her mind. Sometimes she would black out when playing on stage.

And though Blues on Purpose was a success, Kristine eventually wanted more. So, much like her first gig, she told a bit of a fib. She contacted a few bands in Amsterdam saying she was a solo guitar player and singer. They told her to come on over. She spent a month there, reinventing her musical self, and returned as Kristine Jackson, solo artist.

It was around that time that she also confronted her abusers, who were long out of her life, and she came to terms with what happened. She says her relationship with God became even stronger, and she now uses music to empower, not to hide.

“It’s not dark anymore,” she says. “I don’t think music should be dark, even if it’s a dark message. You don’t need to be downtrodden to sing the blues.”

Kristine is starting to find her way. She’s able to make a living solely on music. She’s released a three-song EP, “Almost Famous.” A 15-minute tryout turned into a two-hour show when attempting to win a spot in the International Blues Competition, hosted in Memphis.

“Even though she’s young, she delivers her songs like she’s an old soul. She’s an inspiration to me,” says veteran blues and jazz artist Becky Boyd. “She is the one who got me to dust off my acoustic guitar again.”

Kristine purses her lips and blushes a bit when she’s gi - Cleveland Magazine 2008


"Sunshine and Blues" 2018 Self Released All Original Album
"By Your Side" 2016 Self Released Full Length All Original Band Album
"Vol.2" 2014 Self Released Full Length Solo Album
"Vol.1" 2012 Self Released Full Length Acoustic Trio
"Candy Store" 2010 Self Released Full Length
"Almost Famous" EP 2008
"The MudBugs" 2009



KJ has been performing fulltime for the last 14 years. She started out as a trumpet player and band leader, but shortly thereafter taught herself how to play guitar as she began writing and singing her own material. KJ’s music has taken her on many adventures. She has opened for some of the biggest legends in the music business such as B.B.King, Jimmy Webb, and Mavis Staples. She has self-produced her own records, all with success on Sirius XM radio. KJ travelels the country performing her original material on stages of all sizes, but most of all she will tell you she loves to connect with an audience over shared emotion. Whether it’s sorrow or happiness, she loves to bring everyone into the moment. Her music has always been hard to fit into one genre because she has so many influences. Her newest album is a combination of “Sunshine and Blues”. A tribute to both her roots in the blues and her more recent exploration of island/tropical vibes. With just percussion and acoustic guitars KJ brings her original material to life in a way that is sure to have something for everyone.

Band Members