Local musician to appear on final season of American Idol

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Jacob Tankersley is a name that's been known around Sand Springs for several years, but now he has the opportunity to become a household name across the country. 

The 2011 Charles Page graduate made local headlines after writing the song "See You Soon" in honor of two schoolmates who were killed in a tragic car accident in October of 2010. 

Hannah Christian and Cassidy Rotramel were only 15 years old when they were taken from this Earth, and the whole community felt their loss. 

About that time, Tankersley felt the Lord using him to write the song, aided by friend Jason Hargrove, and recorded it at a local studio using his college savings. Sales of the recording generated more than $5000 for the two victims' families.

"The song touched the heart of Sand Springs and I know it was God-sent to bring what peace it could to the parents, family, and friends."  

Not long after, he was invited to play the song for a packed memorial service at the Charles Page High School Football Stadium, and also received extensive play on local FM radio station K95.5. 

"The Lord used me, and that's when I knew this is my calling."

In September of 2011, Tankersley released his first album, entitled "Just Jake." In December of that year he married his wife, Ashleigh, and the two now have two children The family is currently living in Verdigris and serving at Cedar Point Church in Claremore, where Tankersley leads worship on the weekends. 

He currently has no albums in the works or dates set for concerts, due to a full schedule between his church, family, and full time job. 

"I want to one day make a living being a singer/songwriter. I may never be Jason Aldean, or Luke Bryan, but that's fine with me. I'll go where the Lord leads me and do what it takes to provide for my family."

His family is more than supportive, according to Tankersley. As for his biggest fan, it's "a tough fight" between his wife, mom, and grandma. 

"I'm still finding myself as an artist...Success as an artist, to me, is making a decent living doing what you love and impacting people. The world will always need music, and not just the same old songs. There's always a new way to craft a story or whatever you sing about."

He is joined by his brother Colton Tankersley (lead guitar), along with Brookes Dowler (bass), and Eric Cope (drums) to comprise the Jake Dillon Band. The group has been playing together since March of 2014 and can be found under that moniker on Facebook.

 Tankersley lists Johnny Cash as his biggest influence. He also has great friends and co-writers in Jason Hargrove, and Jared and Lauren Hard. The Hards go by the name "Freewater," and all four of the musicians have performed together under the name "Songwood" in the past, though the three now live in the Nashville area. 

The fifteenth and final season of American Idol will debut on Fox Network on Wednesday, January 6th with Ryan Seacrest as the host, and Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr. as judges. Be sure and tune in to support one of Sand Springs's best!