By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
@body:It was an emotionally wrenching night. As Jackson swept up the last bit of dust on Chuy's floor--along with the remains of her secular American dream--she was suddenly overcome.
"I just sat down in the middle of the floor and bawled like a child," Jackson says. "All around the room, I could see the special moments, the jamming, the songs, everything that made Chuy's so special."
Tears well up in her eyes, thinking of that night. She blinks once, and they come cascading down.
She quickly recovers, smiling broadly. "But then I realized that I still have access to all those special kinds of moments. I have them at Eagle's Nest.
"I know now that losing Chuy's was just God's way of helping me get rid of the old things and replace them with something better."
But as philosophic as Jackson may be about losing her nightclub--along with a small fortune--and as genuinely pleased as she seems to be with her new life, she isn't completely ready to forgive and forget. Nothing in her religion, or the vibrant music that drives it, inspires passivity. The eagle, lest we forget, is a very different bird from the dove.
"The Bible is about war, in case no one has noticed," she says, noting that the Word is filled with examples of God's people standing up--and fighting--for their rights.
To that end, Jackson and Simmons haven't ruled out a lawsuit against Met. However, it is clear that her family will not starve.
Pointing out that "God doesn't want His people to be poor," the pair plan to sell off the sound system, tables, chairs and other building blocks stripped from Chuy's--albeit for a fraction of their worth. Simmons plans to tour again with professional secular bands to make ends meet, and Jackson is recording a solo album she hopes to sell in the growing Christian-music market.
"I want to make music with other musicians more than anything," Jackson says, and that desire shows on the rough cuts she laid down earlier this year. It is moody, haunting music that would sound at home on a dark night at Chuy's, amid the smoke and clinking glasses.
Perhaps the best track on her demo tape, "Down on My Knees," was written several years ago as a conventional love song. But like everything else in Jackson's life, it was recently reworked (with the Phoenix Mass Choir performing backing vocals)--this time to spotlight God.
He showed me that He loved me,
He said, "Have life forever."
If I ever need an answer,
I take it to Him.
Down on my knees,
His love fills me with peace.
"You know," Jackson says, "music is God's greatest toy. It never breaks. Businesses do, but not music.
"And I still have my toy, for now and forever.