On That Happy Note: Edie Jackson Shares Words
You know how sometimes when you see someone, you can just tell that person is full of joy? Many years ago, when I first saw Edie Jackson on stage at a Widespread Panic show, I got that feeling about her. Turns out, years later our paths would cross—and I was correct. After one short phone conversation, Edie invited me and “anyone I wanted to bring” into her home for a dinner party and even welcomed me to stay the night since I had a little bit of a drive.
Crawfish Monica was on the menu, followed by 12-year-old Sophie’s special: her great grandma’s chocolate chess pie. The crawfish had already been ordered straight from Louisiana, and the vegetables were on their way from SC Grows, if not already in hand from their local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Who could possibly turn down that invite? My mouth was already watering.
Edie and Peter Jackson have called Pawleys Island, South Carolina home for about 14 years, where they share a mutual—and passionate—love for food and music. When they moved to Pawleys Island, Peter transitioned to learning his father’s general contracting business; however, his previous experience had him dabbling in music management. Okay, so maybe more than just dabbling. Peter previously served as Widespread Panic’s drum technician turned production manager for a stint.
Edie’s niche in the music scene is not nearly as conventional. If you’ve ever been to a show where Edie offered her unique service, you certainly couldn’t have missed her. She serves the hearing-impaired community and, when requested, signs lyrics of songs on stage during a concert as the songs are played live.
Where did it all start? For over 20 years, Edie has taught children with auditory challenges. Then, a little over a decade ago, a deaf patron requested an interpreter for a Widespread Panic show at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. Thanks to Edie’s affiliation with the band due to her husband’s job at the time, Edie was recruited as the go-to interpreter. She quickly learned that this process is often disjointed and difficult for the deaf and hearing- impaired community, even though it is required by law that a sign language interpreter be provided if one is requested at a large public event.
That sparked something for her.
She continued to offer her services to the deaf and hearing-impaired community over the years, venturing into larger crowds at Bonnaroo, Jazz Fest, and Lockn’ Music Festival. She has also interpreted for numerous artists, including Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen — however, Edie admits that jam bands are much more inside her wheelhouse. Recently, Edie interpreted for her thirteenth consecutive year at Red Rocks for Widespread Panic, bringing her total to an impressive 150+ events, with about 120 of those being Widespread Panic shows.
Fast forward to June 2019 and here I am with Edie and Peter overlooking the Atlantic Ocean while devouring a delicious meal. While I was lucky enough to receive an invite for this particular night, it seems that they tend to be more impromptu gatherings that just seem to happen more times than not. And, while it’s not uncommon for them to have just a good old-fashioned cook-out, they are truly passionate about Cajun cuisine, Asian poke bowls and, of course, Southern food.
According to Edie, “Peter does a Crawfish Monica that rivals the Jazz Fest. He will work an outside steamer and pot like nobody’s business, and churn out steamed oysters, crabs, grouper nuggets, and shrimp and grits.”
The view. The food. The company.
After getting to know Edie and her family a bit, it was easy to understand how she seemed to exude the happiness I saw all those years ago—and still today. After all, if family, friends, good music and great food are pillars for a happy life, they certainly have a foundation to stand on.
By Katie Kirila