By Kathe Molloy for the News Leader

SUNAPEE NH-“At this point, if nothing else happens, it’s still been great. I’ve had three years of doing what I always wanted to do. That’s how Tammy Fulton Jackson, recipient of the New Hampshire Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year award views her new success.

Jackson and her band, CrossOver, will represent New Hampshire at the finals in Las Vegas this October. The band for which Jackson sings and plays rhythm guitar Is a highly-talented, six-piece, full-production group of musicians specializing In country music. Other band members are Rick Levittt on drums, Jeff Davis on bass, Pat Smith on pedal steel and guitar, Gary Hubbard on piano, trumpet, and guitar and Ken Norcross on guitar and mandolin.

CrossOver has performed at some of the state’s most popular and prominent events including the New Hampshire Fair’s Association Convention in North Conway, Winston Cup pre-race in Bow, Northern Lights sell-out concert in Claremont, the 1994 New Hampshire Country Music Association Award Show in Portsmouth, and the Cornish fair. They have also played for the New York Bar and Boston Bar Associations and the Green Mountain Horse Association.

Childhood Aspirations

As a child, Jackson performed In talent shows with her four brothers and sisters. “My folks entered us in talent shows all the time. My mom made all our costumes,” she said. “My dad had a guitar–a Gibson Hummingbird–I really wanted to play that guitar. He told me that if I learned to play the guitar he would let me play the Gibson. So I did. Iwas twelve then and we lived in the woods in Lempster. I spent a lot of time teaching myself to play and I did get to play the Gibson.”

In high school, Jackson formed a duo with a friend and they played at most school functions in Sunapee Harbor during the summers.
After high school, Jackson began classes at Berklee College of Music in Boston. “But,” she said, “I had fallen In love before I left for school. I didn’t stay at school. I came back. I’ve never regretted not staying in school. Gary and I have been married for twelve years and we have four great kids. Sometimes the success of the band gets a little scary, but Gary is such a great guy, he has a lot of faith in me and we have a strong relationship.”

Three years ago, Jackson returned to singing after her sister, Tracy, also a professional singer, encouraged her to start singing again. With all four children n school Jackson felt the timing was right.

TenYear Absence

What was It like to return to the stage after a ten-year absence? “Stage fright never bothered me,” Jackson said, “because I had been performing ever since I could remember. But after ten years off to take care of the kids, the first time I went back on stage with Tracy I thought I would shake to death. I can remember Pete Merrigan laughing because my hand that held the mike shook so much.”

The future looks promising for Jackson. In addition to the finals in Las Vegas, CrossOver will be performing at a fund-raiser for David’s House and they are currently working on their first album. All of the songs will be original. The band is shooting for a late fall or Christmas release date. “I’m very excited. “This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m taking it one step at a time”,Jackson said.

With the pure, clear, tears-in- your-eyes notes of innocence, and the sultry, sulky timbre of a true country spirit, Tammy Fulton Jackson leads the listener down misty country roads, through soft and gentle ballads, into the blue mountain blues of unrequited love and finally, as always in country music, home again