2016 Nebraska Music Hall of Fame Inductee – Jack McKown

jack-mckownJack McKown

Topeka, Kansas born Jack moved to Columbus when adopted at 8 months of age by Joe & Gerry McKown. His music interest started when he was quite young listening to his mom playing piano and cousin Jean playing boogie-woogie. He recalled watching Roy Clark playing guitar on TV. One day when he was 14 his father went to Tom’s Country Music to get a washing machine, Jack saw Gibson Melody Maker guitar on the wall. His dad told Tom to get the guitar down for the boy. The Beatles on TV started the British Invasion. Jack hung around other musicians living in “the brown house” (now a parking lot for McKown Funeral Home). Among those were members of Freedom Road. The first band that Jack helped to form was Purple Stone. Other members were Jim Holmstead, Jan Zaura, Robin Oberg, Jerry Moore. He later played with a series of Nebraska bands including Sweetwater, from Platte Center and Otis, from Fremont. Young Jack laid off for a couple years, then played with Bill Vickers’ country band Southern Comfort with old bandmate Jim Holmstead and wife Joann. After a short run with Patchwork on the road he rejoined Jim and Joann in the Sunshine Bottom Band. Rejoining Bill Vickers & Southern Harmony Jack hit the road traveling throughout Colorado, Oregon, New Mexico, etc. Returning home Jack found work at Columbus Music and joined former Freedom Road members Don Swager, Don Peterson and Tim Tarnick to form the New Road Band. From there Jack began a 16-year musical relationship with Rick Jacobson, Warren Frerichs, Bob Hartle, Harley Zumbrum and Jan Zaura in the Nebraska Hall-of-Fame band Shilo. As a journeyman guitarist Jack moved to Pilger, NE with Ricky & Harley (Nobody’s Business). He played with Bernie Kavamy (Young Country) in the Off
the-Wall Band, and Sidestep with Pete (New Road Band), Ann, Byron and Bart, and with Tom Pinkleman. From there he rejoined former Shilo members Warren & Luke Frerichs, Jan Zaura, Coleman Broaders, and Mark Burns to form Cactus Flats. With some change in membership the last 12 years have gone by much too quickly. It is with great pleasure that the Nebraska Music Hall-of-Fame and the Rivers Edge Music Festival recognize the journeyman-guitarist from Columbus with his solo induction into the family.

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