Fruteland Jackson

Fruteland Jackson is one of the few American artists dedicated to performing and preserving acoustic blues in it’s various styles, both traditional and contemporary, from field hollers and work songs to Delta and Piedmont styles. Fruteland Jackson is a singer / songwriter and educator who performs at Blues festivals, Cultural centers and Clubs worldwide. Fruteland refers to himself as a “Blues Activist” and oral historian promoting awareness through education by conducting Blues in the Schools programs. The Blues Foundation has recognized Fruteland’s contributions by presenting him with the Keeping the Blues Alive award.


Fruteland Jackson was born June 9, 1953 in Sunflower County, Mississippi, the fourth child of six. He was raised in a musical and church going family. Unlike many other African Americans he is fortunate enough to be able to document his roots back to 1863. Fruteland’s parents John Andrew and Ida B. (both deceased) were like many other blacks living in the South in the early 1950’s. They headed north to the bright lights of Chicago in search of better employment, civil rights and education for their growing family. His early childhood was spent between Chicago and Mississippi. Fruteland’s “ love/hate” relationship with Mississippi would cause him to return to the Magnolia state time and time again for growth and refuge.

Fruteland’s early exposure to church singing and growing up in a household where blues music was the norm set the foundation for what would become his life’s work. He soon fell under the spell of the musical influences of his favorite Uncle, Woodrow “Dick” Chandler, who was a locally known guitar and piano player in Inverness, Mississippi and he gave Fruteland his first guitar at 12 years old. He extended his guitar training by learning folk sounds and listening to the Motown sounds. “Back then I liked the Blues alright, but I did not become consumed with them until later”. His formal musical training began in high school. He later attended Columbia College in Chicago as a performing arts major (theatre and music) as well as Chicago’s Roosevelt University where he studied voice. Marriage would put the arts in the background, when he became a father. He worked as a licensed Private Investigator and later as an investigator with the State of Illinois Department of Human Rights.

The first concrete symptoms of his blues calling surfaced in the mid 1980’s when Fruteland returned to Mississippi and settled in Biloxi where he opened the Camel Seafood Company, a wholesale seafood company specializing in high quality shrimp and oysters. After four successful years, the business became a casualty of Hurricane Elena. With this hurricane came the Blues. Just previous to this Fruteland had begun to strum blues rhythms and listen regularly to the radio show of Bill Ferris, the Blues Doctor out of the University of Mississippi. “The Blues was a comforter to me always my healer during difficult times”. Virtually stranded on the Gulf Coast with his family, he did what it took to survive while daily imbibing in the blues. “I dug up the old records, all my fathers old 78’s”. Fruteland began to reclaim his past. He immersed himself in the blues. The music spoke loudly and this time Fruteland was listening. He was moved and shaken. “My father, grandfather and uncles all had the blues, and brought them home daily…it wasn’t no festival either”. Fruteland had heard his guru Johnny Shines, Robert Johnson, Howling Wolf , Little Walter, Muddy Waters and his uncle Woodrow as a child, but now as a man he was truly listening. For the first time in forty years Fruteland figured out where he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to be doing. He had found his pulpit to champion the downtrodden and those who dare to listen through Blues education. He could now communicate with peers and oppressors. He would assert himself. “ The blues is the recognition of a tragedy and an optimism to deal with it.”

Signed by the Electro-Fi label in 1999 Fruteland has to date released two highly acclaimed CD’s. “I Claim Nothing But The Blues” (E-fi 3364) was released in 2000, followed by “Blues 2.0” (E-fi 3380) in 2003. Blues 2.0 was nominated for the prestigious W.C. Handy award as “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year”. Blues Revue magazine in a spotlight review hailed it as “one of the finest blues albums of this young decade”. Blues in Britain called Blues 2.0 “an essential purchase for all lovers of quality blues”.

Fruteland is fast becoming a mainstay on the Blues festival circuit in both North America and Europe. He recently completed a month long tour of Russia. He also remains commited to the Blues in the Schools program traveling to dozens of schools each year. For additional information on Fruteland Jackson’s CD’s please visit the CD section of this website. For tour dates and information on booking Fruteland please visit

“My respect for Fruteland Jackson is very high. He and my boy Alvin Youngblood Hart is the future sound of true acoustic Blues”. – Henry “Mule” Townsend.

“He’s a young fellow an up and coming traditional guitar player who speaks to his generation in his own words”. – Bill Boy Arnold.

“Fruteland has his own style. He can go back and play the old time blues. He will be one of the great ones of our times”. – Jimmie Lee Robinson, The Lonely Traveller.

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