Port Townsend: Blues festival creates tribute to musician’s memory

PORT TOWNSEND — “Boats up the river and it won’t come down, I believe my soul, babe, it’s water bound.”

The words were written by John Jackson, one of the masters of country blues guitar.

Jackson’s soul passed over the river Jan. 20, ending a career that included performances at the White House and Carnegie Hall.

A performer and teacher at Centrum’s Country Blues Workshop since 1993, he was the only musician invited back every year.

“What John brought is not so much the ability to play the guitar as a look into a time and a culture that’s gone,” said Peter McCracken, program manager for the workshop, now in its 10th year.

McCracken has created a shrine to Jackson’s memory in Fort Worden Building 204, where the Country Blues Workshop is being held this week.

Under a photograph of Jackson burn memorial candles made by McCracken and Joan Greene for all 200 workshop participants. Articles and reviews, letters from two U.S. presidents, Centrum posters featuring Jackson and obituary notices from The New York Times and The Washington Post are strung around the walls, which are decorated with strings of lights and yellow roses.

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The rest of this story appears in the Friday/Saturday Peninsula Daily News Jefferson County edition. Click on SUBSCRIBE to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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