Hill Country Live Presents
30 W. 26th St.
New York, NY, 10010
David Jacobs-Strain, a consummate finger-style and slide guitarist, plays in the blues tradition but isn't from it. You'll hear echoes of Skip James, Charlie Patton, Tommy Johnson, and a song or two by Fred McDowell or Robert Johnson in his solo performances. But as a modern roots musician, singer, and songwriter, "I come from the language of the country blues, but it's important not to silence other influences," he says.
Upon listening to Jacobs-Strain's latest CD, Liar's Day, you can imagine him inviting his touchstone, American bluesman Taj Mahal, on a musical walkabout. You can imagine them conferring with Salif Keita, Afro-pop songster of Mali; and conversing with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Indian slide guitarist; and even conjuring the spirit of John Lennon while tramping in the Siskiyou Mountains of Oregon. The traces of these musical excursions interweave with the fat sounds of a rock rhythm section. The results cohere into a genre-defying journal of Jacob-Strain's pursuit to honor both the roots of American country blues and the possibilities that can grow from them.
For the past three years Jacobs-Strain has been touring the country to share his musical explorations with diverse audiences. He's been billed with T-Bone Burnett and Bob Weir, and has opened for acts such as Los Lobos, Lucinda Williams, Taj Mahal, Etta James, Boz Scaggs, and the Blind Boys of Alabama. By the time he was 19, he had played at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and MerleFest. His other festival credits include the Strawberry Music Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, the Telluride Blues Fest, the Vancouver Folk Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Lugano Blues to Bop Festival in Switzerland. He's also served as faculty at guitar workshops, most notably at Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch.
"How do you continue to find inspiration in sound? Why does a certain musical phrase grab you by the hair and heart and brain? How do you continue to make it new? How do you honor the people who poured themselves into the music in the first place?" Jacobs-Strain asks. Whenever he strives to answer these questions, you'll want to be there to listen.