Read a little bit about me
and my background.
JACKIE PEARSON BANKSTON
“The Princess Of The Piano”
began her professional career in August of 1980,
just a few short months after graduating from the
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) with a
Bachelor's Degree in Music Theory and Composition.
In the last 34+ years, she hasn't stopped.
playing in pubs, piano bars, restaurants and hotels
throughout the mid-South, in the early 1980's,
Jackie landed a job at the prestigious Pat O'Brien's
(the world's first and longest lasting two piano
club) in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jackie spent 7
years in and out of New Orleans at the dueling gig.
In 1990, she was one of three women to recreate that
scene at the Rio Suite Hotel and Casino in Las
Vegas. The act played the hotel for 4 months.
1991, Jackie began her worldwide treks, playing
hotel piano bars throughout Sweden, Norway, Denmark,
Bahrain and Thailand. In between her Scandinavian
treks in 1992-1994 she joined the team at the first
franchise of Pat O'Brien's, opened in Cancun,
Mexico. Winters in Cancun, summers in Sweden!
the summer of 1996, Jackie joined several other
players to start a dueling show at the Panama City
Brewery and Cafe in Panama City, Florida and was a
member of that successful team until the summer of
1998, when she joined The American Queen. Twice
more, Jackie entertained in Las Vegas in dueling
acts, at the Naughty Ladies Saloon at Arizona
Charlie's Hotel and Casino and at Main Street
the fall of 1998 until the fall of 2001, Jackie
began her love affair with the “cruise industry” and
started on the rivers of The United States. As an
Engine Room Bar entertainer onboard the American
Queen, of the famed Delta Queen Steamboat Company,
she traveled the rivers of the heartland of America,
telling jokes and serenading the passengers up and
down the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. In 2000, she
released her first CD and launched her website,
January of 2002, Jackie embarked on yet another
exciting adventure - a 13-week stint as a solo
performer onboard the Wind Spirit, a 4-masted
sailing schooner of Wind Star Cruise Lines. She
entertained on cruises from Costa Rica, through the
Panama Canal, touching a few countries along the
northernmost tip of South America, and on over to
the Caribbean to begin her island hopping!
her return to the U.S., she rejoined the dueling
circuit, putting in appearances at DJ's Dugout in
Omaha, Nebraska, and at Bricktown Keys in Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma, until she returned to the rivers in
January of 2003.
Jackie recorded her second CD during 2003, a live
performance onboard the American Queen, entitled
“It’s Me Again” and filled with her unmistakable
style of humor. Her shows on the American Queen
developed from a concept of having theme nights.
Jackie took these theme nights and turned them into
full-blown shows filled with music and jokes. Her
favorites are country night, full of redneck humor,
and 70’s night, full of MALE BASHING jokes!
had Jackie once again rolling on the river and
entertaining passengers in the Engine Room Bar
aboard the American Queen. She returned to that
stage for another season with the Delta Queen
Steamboat Company in 2005, finishing that season
performing on their vessel the Mississippi Queen
with a trio in the famed Paddlewheel Lounge, as the
American Queen was briefly put out of service after
Jackie was the featured entertainment for the Miss.
Business Journal’s Woman of the Year luncheon in
January of 2005, where she performed and spoke about
being a successful businesswoman. She was also a
headliner for Senior Citizens’ Day at the Miss.
State Fair in October of that same year.
2006, she decided to discover the Pacific Northwest
and spread her wings a little. Her work took her to
the Empress of the North, another riverboat. This
one traveled the Columbia, Snake and Willamette
Rivers through Oregon, Idaho and Washington. The
summer season was spent cruising the inside passage
of Alaska. This vessel was a part of America West
Steamboat Company. However, during 2006 both
American West and Delta Queen were purchased by
Ambassadors International and joined together to
form a new small ship luxury line known as Majestic
started off with a bang onboard the Empress of the
North sailing out of Portland, Oregon, and the
spring found her back in the heartland of this great
country, once again on the American Queen where she
reigned on the throne behind the baby grand in the
Engine Room Bar for so many years. She remained
there until that grand lady of the river went out of
service in November of 2008.
Within a few weeks she was back at work on the high
seas for Windstar Cruise Lines onboard the Wind
Spirit. She performed for the company fulltime from
December of 2008 until October of 2011. After a
brief rest, she rejoined the newly revived Grand
American Queen of the newly formed American Queen
Steamboat Company, where she once again reigned on
her “throne” in the Engine Room Bar. She has been
entertaining there throughout their first season
back on the river as part of a duo that has included
Bob Schad or Bobby Durham. She was offered a
contract for the 2013 season and was delighted to
accept! Her partner during the 2013-2014 seasons was
Bobby Durham. Her new CD "A Song For You," is
available on this website along with her earlier
the first time since 1998, Jackie will not be
performing on the riverboat. Back and neck issues,
an occupational hazard of playing the piano, are
going to sideline the Princess of the Piano until
further notice. In the meantime, please enjoy
memories from her 35 year career and some of the
wonderful places she was privileged to visit.