The Waltons gave Jon Walmsley an opportunity to pursue a music career

Jon Walmsley didn't want to take the easy way when it came to his music career but being on The Waltons definitely helped.

Image credit: The Everett Collection

Jon Walmsley was the young actor known by millions as Jason Walton, son of Olivia and John and brother of John-Boy. His success on The Waltons wasn't the only thing the young actor had going for him at the time. He had a promising future ahead of him, and an even bigger vision for himself.

Walmsley was an established musician in the mind of TV viewers, who had watched him grow from a freckle-face, harmonica playing adolescent to the guitar and piano playing student in later episodes.

So, the transition between television and the live stage would seem obvious: put a guitar in his hand, call the press and title his debut album "Live from The Walton's Mountain," or something along those lines.

However, according to a 1979 interview with The Jackson Sun, Walmsley wanted to do it his own way. At the time of this interview, he was 23.

"I've had a lot of offers from people who are interested in making a fast buck and doing a great publicity campaign and having the album called "Jason Walton Sings," or something like that," he said. "I just said, 'Forget it.' I don't want to do that."

"People are going to know that anyway," he said. "So it's more something to get away from than it is something to capitalize on."

Walmsley wanted to pursue a music career without being attached to The Waltons. He said, "If you want to sustain a career over a lifetime, you've really got to have something going or people are not going to continue to be interested in you."

According to the interview, his main interest was in country music. And no, not because of The Waltons. In fact, Walmsley got the part on The Waltons partly because he could play a harmonica. Walmsley said one of his first idols was The Beatles.

Although Walmsley had no intention of leaving The Waltons, he didn't shy away from taking any opportunity to play music. He played with acts that included: Elvin Bishop, The Doobie Brothers and Gregg Allman.

"The way I look at it is, I might not have had the chance to meet them otherwise," he said. "But they wouldn't want me to play with them if they didn't think I was good."

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3 Comments

joynhim 4 months ago
Hi! The Waltons have been therapeutic for me.
I did watch the show growing up and loss touch with it in 1977. My life took a "Great"turn and I was gifted with a marriage and family of my own.
Lately, I was reunited with the show and have caught up where I left off!
Andybandit 12 months ago
That was nice of TW to let Jon Walmsley who plays Jason Walton to pursue a music career.
LoveMETV22 12 months ago
Many similarities with Jon Walmsley's off screen interest with music and his character portrayal of Jason on The Walton's. Fortunately he was able to showcase that talent on the series.
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