WANT TO GO?
Presented by the Woody Hawley Concert Series
WHERE: Clay Center
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.org
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kristy Jackson said a lot of things in Charleston have changed since she was a kid living just off Lucado Road.
"It's quite different from what I remember it," the singer/songwriter said. "Back then, it was just a sketchy two-lane road leading up to Rolling Hills Road. I'm just amazed. I don't know how my parents ever navigated the thing back then."
It's been a while, but the South Charleston native, best known for penning Reba McEntire's hit "Take It Back," returns to Charleston on Saturday for the Woody Hawley Concert Series.
Jackson spent the first 12 years of her life in West Virginia. Her father worked at Union Carbide. Her family lived in South Charleston and then on Rolling Hills Road.
"But when I was 12, we moved to Connecticut," she said.
The years in West Virginia were formative ones, though. It was where she started tinkering on the family piano. Jackson thinks she must have been about 4 years old.
"I just started playing," Jackson said. "My parents tried to get me into instruction. They'd sign me up for piano lessons and I'd just quit playing. It became a job and the joy kind of went out of it for me."
Her parents finally gave up on getting her formally trained. Jackson never learned to read music, but she figured out tunes and wrote songs.
"Maybe not good ones," she acknowledged, laughing. "I was little, but I got better."
In her 20s, Jackson moved to North Carolina, played music and sent songs to Nashville, hoping one of them would attract the interest of a country star or record label.
None of them went anywhere until after 1990, when Jackson wrote and recorded "Take It Back," a pop-country song with R&B and beach music leanings.
A DJ in North Carolina heard the song, liked it and thought it would be perfect for Reba McEntire.
The DJ asked Jackson, "Hey, would you mind if mailed this to Reba?"