Rest Easy, Jack Brown
I’m very sad to note the passing of our new friend and one of the talented artists who played on Laughing at Life, the first track from our forthcoming album.
Jackie Raoul Brown, known as Jack to his friends, passed away on August 4 at his home in Texas.
If you read Jack’s obituary, you’ll learn more about his amazing life, including the fact that he was inducted into both the Sacramento and Tulsa Western Swing Societies’ Halls of Fame for his dedication to the genre. The obituary also notes that he played with Sammi Smith, Ray Price, Little Jimmy Dickens, and Clint Strong, though I’m sure that he played with many others, too.
When we were recording in Texas this past spring, a few old time Western Swing players came up in conversation, and Jack seemed to have known and/or played with all of them. Even better, Jack had some funny stories to share about a few of these folks that made their songs even better for me. I laughed and laughed at Jack’s stories, and I’m so thankful to have heard them.
I’d be remiss not to mention that Jack was one hell of a guitar player. (And, ok, perhaps an incorrigible flirt, too. But in a good way.) The sounds he got out of that guitar blew my mind. I’m just learning how to play the guitar, so I try to pay attention to some of the more technical aspects of a person’s playing, but also to their overall body language. Jack had been playing guitar for a long time, granted, but he just made it look so effortless. Those sweet sounds made me so happy.
I’ve been lucky to know a lot of tremendously talented musicians. I think a lot of people who don’t hang out with musicians think that the really good ones have a good chance of “making it” if they just give it a shot. It all depends on how you define making it, I guess. If this means that a person becomes a household name, well, not too many get there. But if you define success as a person getting to play the music they love, watching the pure joy that it gives others, and making enough money to pay the bills…then Jack Brown surely made it.
Thanks, Jack, for sharing some of that joy with me.