W hen Susan Jacks needed a kidney transplant, it was Billy, one of her six brothers, who stepped up as donor.
Yeah, that Billy - the title guy in the Poppy Family hit song of 1969, "Which Way You Goin' Billy?"
"My whole family stepped forward, but Billy was a good match and he was always calling, never stopped asking about it," Jacks said. "He knew it would be better if I didn't go on dialysis. My kidneys had all but given out. Bless his heart, Billy just kept calling."
The transplant surgery was done in 2010, and Jacks is back singing in concert, including a pair of dates at Blue Frog studio/concert hall in White Rock on the nights of Oct. 5-6.
Calling from her current home in Sechelt, Jacks spoke energetically about living in Nashville for 21 years, starting in 1983, and her plans to record a new album this fall, possibly at Blue Frog.
"I'm excited to go there for these concerts, because I've heard it's a beautiful room and that the sound is fabulous," Jacks said. "It's intimate, too. That brings you closer to people, and I like that. It's fun."
Backed by an A-list band, Jacks aims to give the audience a retrospective of her musical career, from Poppy Family songs to fresh solo material.
"I'm performing in concert more now," she said, "but I'm dealing with anemia a bit still, which is a common side effect of the transplant."
Because of the physical demands, Jacks hasn't been able to tour since the transplant.
"I've gotten to the point where I love singing more than I ever have," she said, "and I think it happens to people who have gone through something that makes them feel like they have a second chance at life. And I have. A transplant is a devastating thing. So being able to sing is a treat, a gift."
Jacks is excited to launch the Susan Jacks Foundation, which will work to build a facility to house organ transplant patients who come to Vancouver from outlying areas.
For her concert dates in White Rock, Jacks' band will include David Sinclair (guitar), his son Zak (also on guitar), Bill Sample (keys), Brian Newcombe (bass), Shawn Soucy (drums) and Mary Saxton (vocals). Tickets for the gigs are $49.50 via the studio's website, www.bluefrogstudios.ca/ newshows.html.