Author, photographer and band member, Jan Hudson, is one busy Boomer with a GOOD case of the blues. Jan Hudson began her career as a professional photographer at the age of 18. “When I was 17 I worked for Powell Studios,” she recalls. “I didn’t do much but take photos of track teams. I photographed my first wedding at age 18. I remember the best man saying,’ I will be damned if a woman is ever going to shoot my wedding.’ Back then, women in the photography business were rare. I was one of only three female photographers from here to Columbus-3,207 weddings later, I’m still going strong.”
The Accidental Author
“I never set out to write I book,” states Hudson, “but I wrote and published, ‘Cry When You Cry and That’s OK’ in 2006 after my husband [Conley Hudson] died from diabetes and congestive heart failure.” The book has been well received and Hudson continues to reach to those mourning through the book’s Facebook page. “People do not know where to go or turn to,” she says. “There are so many psychological and analytical books on death out there.
My book is set up as a journal. I used to think I couldn’t live a day without him, let alone a week. My book walks you right through the process from the first day of the ‘wake me up this can’t be happening’ moment to waking up and discovering that pain is not the first thing you feel. Do not fear the pain. It can eventually lead to healing. In my opinion, it’s better to go through the tough process of mourning then trying to mask your sorrow with drugs.”
Local Band Goes National
Hudson is also a member of The Fossil Creek Band. She has always been musically inclined. “I played the piano,” she recalls. “To many people’s surprise, I started taking banjo lessons. Conley [Hudson’s late husband] was a well-known bluegrass musician.
After he died I started a Bluegrass gospel group with Tom Galbraith. In fact, Tom’s daughter gave us the band’s name. Ten years ago when we started out his daughter said, ‘Look at the old people trying to play like Nickle Creek. You should call yourselves ‘Fossil Creek.’ The name stuck but we are hardly fossils.”
The Fossil Creek Band has since morphed into a Bluegrass Americana band that writes its own music which is currently being played in 33 countries. The band’s lead guitar player was the former lead player for the local rock band, ‘Uncle Knuckle Funk’ and their fiddle player is a four-time Ohio state fiddle champion. The band uses Air Play Direct that allows their music to be heard by radio stations across the world. “We were just a local band having fun and BAM next thing you know we are playing the Blue Plate Special in Knoxville, Tenn. We are big in Ireland, England, Germany, Australia, and Denmark loves us,” states Hudson. “We are also really big in Canada, where we will travel next year. There are a couple places in Ireland that want us to play but travel expenses for five people are pricey. We are working on getting sponsors and book several gigs together overseas.”
Go For It
“I grew up with five brothers and a mom who said, ‘If you want to try something, go for it’,” says Hudson. “Failure is the worst thing that can happen.” In addition to her many talents, Hudson also repairs instruments and builds banjos, guitars and fiddles. “I find it so relaxing,” she states. “I lose myself during the process.” Her advice to fellow Boomers is to keep trying new things. “You may look at something or meet someone and the next thing you know you are taking a ‘side exit’ to a whole new adventure. I am 60-years-old and I have been knocked down—especially with $70,000 of my late husband’s medical bills— but I continue to get up and keep going. Life is amazing if you really open your eyes. I have no formal training in grief support yet I end up writing a book that has helped numerous people, I get to share the memorable moments of others through my photography and be play with an amazing group of talented musicians. It’s right in front of you if you stop being self-consumed and truly see. I am never going to be a millionaire but I am happy and happiness is priceless.
Upcoming Fossil Creek Gigs
Sat. Aug. 29 – Blissfield, Mich. -Bluegrass On The River
Sun. Aug. 30 – Milan, Mich. -Josh Kittel Benefit -KC Campground – TBA
Sat. Sept. 12 – Ottawa Lake, Mich. -Whiteford Community Days – 5pm
Sun. Sept. 13/15 – Erie, Mich. – Erie Orchard Apple Festival – 2:30pm
Tue.-Sat. Sept. 29 – Oct. 3 – Raleigh, N.C. -BMA World of Bluegrass – 24/7
Sun. Oct. 11/15 – Grand Rapids, Ohio -Apple Butter Festival – 3-5pm
Sun. Oct. 18/15 – Columbus, Ohio –
St.Luke’s UMC Street Fair – TBA
Fri. Oct. 30/15 – Metamora, Ohio –
Farmhouse Sabbath – 7pm