Jeannette Eason Interviews

Tough, strong-willed and big hearted, Jeannette Davis Eason was a truly remarkable woman and a major factor in Willie Eason’s success as a musician and businessman.  She was born into a poor family in the rural central Florida town Longwood in 1937.  Working as an itinerant farm laborer, as a girl she was the primary income producer for her family—her father was an abusive alcoholic.  She married Willie Eason in 1956, and they had eight children.  Dedicated to nurturing young people, Jeannette and Willie informally adopted twenty-four children and young people who were in need of a home.  Together the Easons owned and operated three Fat Willie from Philly take-out barbeque restaurants simultaneously, owned and managed 280 rental units, and produced large concerts featuring top gospel stars in the 1950s and 60s.  When Willie suffered from Alzheimer’s in his later years, Jeannette was a key source of information concerning her husband’s colorful life.

– Robert Stone

  • RS 038-039 Jeannette Eason Interview 1/18/06 00:00
  • RS 040-043 Jeannette Eason Interview 1/20/06 00:00
  • RS 044 Jeannette Eason Interview 1/24/06 00:00
Interviewee: Jeannette Eason
Interviewer: Robert Stone
Date: 1/18/06, 1/20/06, 1/24/06
Location: On the telephone
Language: English

For the archive overview:
The Robert Stone Sacred Steel Archive

To learn more about Willie Eason and the Sacred Steel tradition, visit the Willie Eason interview page

These are interviews originally recorded for research purposes. They are presented here in their raw state, unedited except to remove some irrelevant sections and blank spaces. All rights to the interviews are reserved by the Arhoolie Foundation. Please do not use anything from this website without permission.

Jeannette Eason Interview Transcripts:

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.