“I was a bit of a road warrior. I was comfortable out there.”
— JACK ADKINS
From 1983-1993, Jack Adkins toured as Jamin’ Jack, the One Man Band, cycling through 22 rooms in the south—restaurants and malls, mostly near military bases. No dancing, just entertainment, with Jack doing it all. "They had a corporate concept of presentation—it was really good for me to learn rapport — bantering, entertaining, not only your music, but your personality. I was a shy person. Day after day, year after year, I developed the skill. Ten years, you have time to work on everything." It was just before the tour began that Jack Adkins walked into London Music, a small studio in Tampa, Florida. He was there to record his LP debut, American Sunset
He was 36 and already a music veteran. He’d began in Cincinnati in the mid ’60s in one of the dozens of American garage bands who called themselves the Coachmen before joining up with the Invalids to record “The Buzzard” b/w “Love That Girl” for Crutch Records in 1965. That’s his arpeggiated guitar you hear on OFS Unlimited’s “Mystic,” which came out on Columbus’s Prix
label in 1973. Adkins stuck around just long enough to watch the group morph into Sussex recording artist Segments of Time, but is absent from their self-titled LP. The back half of the 1970s was spent doing time with singer named Jodi Hungerbuhler in a stage duo known as The Two Of Us. He came to Florida shortly after.
In a bit of poetry in motion, Adkins took the American Sunset master tapes with him on the road, knowing that he might not be on terra firma for a while, and that he’d eventually press them up somewhere along the way. He did so the following year in Houston, making both LPs and tapes, and would sell them from the stage throughout the course of the decade.
Playing one to four weeks in one place after another, with no home base for an entire decade, of course, was the kind of lonesome experience American Sunset, at its best, captures so perfectly. When he finally made the decision to abandon the road life in ’93, he gave the company nine months notice. "I made friends out there,” he said, “but those are empty friendships. They don’t get to know you."
After this, Adkins would drift into working the computer world in its ’90s boom years, and it was a case of "right place at the right time." As his fortunes increased, the road fell away, and today his musical excursions happen at home, and in front of the green screen he uses for music videos.
More Cosmic Americana
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Cosmic American Music