Letters

Letters 09-07-2015

DEJA VUE Traverse City faces the same question as faced by Ann Arbor Township several years ago. A builder wanted to construct a 250-student Montessori school on 7.78 acres. The land was zoned for suburban residential use. The proposed school building was permissible as a “conditional use.”

The Court Overreached Believe it or not, everyone who disagrees with the court’s ruling on gay marriage isn’t a hateful bigot. Some of us believe the Supreme Court simply usurped the rule of law by legislating from the bench...

Some Diversity, Huh? Either I’ve been misled or misinformed about the greater Traverse City area. I thought that everyone there was so ‘all inclusive’ and open to other peoples’ opinions and, though one may disagree with said person, that person was entitled to their opinion(s)...

Defending Good People I was deeply saddened to read Colleen Smith’s letter [in Aug. 24 issue] regarding her boycott of the State Theater. I know both Derek and Brandon personally and cannot begin to understand how someone could express such contempt for them...

Not Fascinating I really don’t understand how you can name Jada Johnson a fascinating person by being a hunter. There are thousands of hunters all over the world, shooting by gun and also by arrow; why is she so special? All the other people listed were amazing...

Back to Mayberry A phrase that is often used to describe the amiable qualities that make Traverse City a great place to live is “small-town charm,” conjuring images of life in 1940s small-town America. Where everyone in Mayberry greets each other by name, job descriptions are simple enough for Sarah Palin to understand, and milk is delivered to your door...

Don’t Be Threatened The August 31 issue had 10 letters(!) blasting a recent writer for her stance on gay marriage and the State Theatre. That is overkill. Ms. Smith has a right to her opinion, a right to comment in an open forum such as Northern Express...

Treat The Sickness Thank you to Grant Parsons for the editorial exposing the uglier residual of the criminalizing of drug use. Clean now, I struggled with addiction for a good portion of my adult life. I’ve never sold drugs or committed a violent crime, but I’ve been arrested, jailed, and eventually imprisoned. This did nothing but perpetuate shame, alienation, loss and continued use...

About A Girl -- Not Consider your audience, Thomas Kachadurian (“About A Girl” column). Preachy opinion pieces don’t change people’s minds. Example: “My view on abortion changed…It might be time for the rest of the country to catch up.” Opinion pieces work best when engaging the reader, not directing the reader...

Disappointed I am disappointed with the tone of many of the August 31 responses to Colleen Smith’s Letter to the Editor from the previous week. I do not hold Ms. Smith’s opinion; however, if we live in a diverse community, by definition, people will hold different views, value different things, look and act different from one another...

Free Will To Love I want to start off by saying I love Northern Express. It is well written, unbiased and always a pleasure to read. I am sorry I missed last month’s article referred to in the Aug. 24 letter titled, “No More State Theater.”

Home · Articles · News · Features · 45 Years of Making Hits
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45 Years of Making Hits

Rick Coates - December 26th, 2011  

Chuck Jacobs: From Traverse City To Nashville

Ask any musician and they will likely tell you there was that one make-or-break audition that forever changed their career. That was the case for bassist and former Traverse City resident Chuck Jacobs 33 years ago this month, when an impromptu audition for country music superstar Kenny Rogers took place.

“I figured I was going to be in a rock and roll band or some high-end jazz band for my whole career,” said Jacobs. “A former bandmate of mine from my rock and roll days (Edgar Struble) was Kenny’s keyboardist and music director. In passing I mentioned that if Kenny was ever looking for a full time bass player I would be interested. Kenny had the bass lines played by a second keyboardist in his band. A few weeks later I got the call from Edgar and was told Kenny wanted to hire me.”

Jacobs was asked to come to one of the shows and meet Rogers.

“After the show we are all back at the hotel and I started jamming in the room with Kenny’s guitarist Randy Dorman. We were playing a lot of jazz. Kenny was in the room next door and we didn’t know it,” said Jacobs.

“He typically was not a late night person and liked things quiet. We jammed well until three in the morning and since he never came over and told us to quit I guess I passed the audition and was hired the next day. I later learned that Kenny was a big jazz fan.”

Now Jacobs is not only Kenny Rogers’s bassist, but also his music director. He will make two appearances in the region over the next couple weeks: this Friday Dec. 30 at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, and Jan. 13 at the Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie.

FROM ROCK TO COUNTRY

After graduating from Traverse City High School in the mid ’60s, Jacobs was a part of the Michigan rock and roll scene.

“I was in the Rainmakers and we had a few regional hits on Midwest radio. We toured with Bob Seger and what would eventually become Grand Funk among others,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs joined The Dapps, based out of James Brown’s studio in Cincinnati, touring the south with Hank Ballard and Little Johnny Taylor, and then hooked with Wayne Cochran & the CC Riders, where he replaced the legendary Jaco Pastorius. He eventually moved to New York City and toured the country performing jazz with The Roy Meriwether Trio from 1975-1978 before joining Rogers.

He became a fixture in Nashville, where his bass work was sought after by Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Lionel Richie, Wynona Judd, Smokey Robinson, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Kenny Loggins, Trisha Yearwood, and numerous others. He also wrote the bestselling instructional book The Bottom Line:

To Be A Success Playing The Bass.

Music of all styles

“One of the things I have been very fortunate about is that Kenny has been a great boss. He has encouraged and supported my work and projects outside of his band,”

said Jacobs. “I not only consider him a great boss, but a great friend.”

When not in the studio or on the road with Rogers, Jacobs keeps busy with several projects including a website development company that has included designing sites for Ringo Starr and football legend Phil Simms. He also formed a record label with his brother Dan and to date they have produced over 30 artists. In addition he and Dan have a jazz group, the Jacobs Brothers.

“I have always loved jazz and in addition to Dan (an accomplished trumpet and flute player who has performed with a who’s who of jazz artists) my brother Rod plays drums in the band,” said Jacobs. “Plus Randy Dorman from Kenny’s band plays guitar. Randy and I hit it off 33 years ago and have been best friends since.”

The Jacobs Brothers gather each summer for a jam session near Torch Lake and plan to release a new CD soon.

“What I am most proud of is that jam session is to raise money for a music scholarship in our mother’s name,” said Jacobs.

TRAVERSE CITY STILL BECKONS

Jacobs credits Traverse City for supporting artists.

“One thing is the attitude towards artists in general is better there than anywhere I have lived or visited. There is this real sense of community that just doesn’t exist in most places,” said Jacobs.

“Every time I go back I notice that it feels like an artist enclave. Even though I am not directly a part of it, I draw a lot of inspiration from it and really credit my success from growing up in that environment.”

As for the future Jacobs looks to enjoying several more years with Kenny Rogers.

“Kenny told us he was going to retire when he was 65. Now he is 73 and shows no signs of slowing down,” said Jacobs. “We are getting ready to go back in the studio and record another CD so I see us touring for several more years. We are all having a great time, we all have side projects and we love performing.”

For more information check out chuckjacobs.com.


Bassist Chuck Jacobs is now the music director for Kenny Rogers.

 
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