Born and raised in Greenfield, Jackie Smith was a true “Glengarry Lad;” he was a proud life long resident of the 4th of Kenyon. From his early years, Jackie was lover of Scot’s tunes. On many occasions he would recount stories of his youth when, as a small boy, he would sit at the top of the stairs and listen to the singing and music of his father Alec and his uncle, Bishop William Smith as they gathered with neighbours and friends in the kitchen below. His love for the tunes never left him and as a teenager he played guitar, piano or fiddle as he joined the other musicians at any opportunity.
In the early 70s, Jackie joined Sylvester MacDonald and The Clansmen; their group became one of the most popular groups of the time. He then went on to form another group with Lyle MacMillan and Hughie McDonald called the Dornie Express. The band was in demand for dances, concerts and at local pubs in Glengarry and the Ottawa Valley. When Lyle left, Jackie and Hughie, to the delight of their appreciative fans, continued to perform.
In 1978, Jackie’s solid accompaniment and individual guitar styling led Rob Taylor to invite him to join The Brigadoons. The band’s popularity was never in question and Jackie was a perfect fit for this Glengarry kilted band. They performed not only in Glengarry, but throughout Canada and the U.S. for the next 30 years until his death in October, 2008. During this time, Jackie was also an active member of the Glengarry Strathspey & Reel Society and his unique guitar style complimented the traditional music of the fiddles.
Thanks to his humility, his genial personality and his professional demeanor, Jackie was a very popular musician, no matter with whom he played. He knew his audience and could always pick songs that appealed to his crowd. He kept alive some of Glengarry’s folklore as he sang the old favourites such as “The Road to Dalhousie” or “The Martintown Song.”
Jackie was also a great promoter of his home county. Nothing made him prouder that to share the stage with other Glengarry talent. He was always proud to proclaim, “they’re from Glengarry.” Throughout his lifetime, Jackie was generous with his talents and on innumerable occasions he would give of his time and talent to play at benefits, fundraisers, church and other community events. He was a generous supporter of the MacCulloch Dancers and also lent his talents to other performers’ recording project over the years.
Jackie was one of Glengarry’s original performers; through his music, he promoted Glengarry with love and passion for his entire life. As the Glengarry News stated in its headline reporting Jackie’s death: Music Community Mourns Loss of “Mr Glengarrious.”