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Liar's Day

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Album Review

Jacobs-Strain's sixth release pulls the acoustic guitarist even further away from the deep country-blues that dominated his earliest work. While only in his mid-20s when this was released in 2008, he sounds like a grizzled veteran and plays with the passion, subtlety, and assurance of musicians twice his age. Once again produced by Kenny Passarelli who worked on Jacobs-Strain's previous two discs and also contributes bass, the sound is warm and inviting. Joe Vitale, another old Joe Walsh associate, adds drums and keyboards, fleshing out the sound for a more rock-oriented edge. Songs such as the thumping "Say it to My Face" find the players turning up the amps for a searing blues-rocker that wouldn't be out of place on a Walsh album. Covers of blues chestnuts from Mississippi Fred McDowell ("Write Me a Few Short Lines") and Robert Johnson ("Traveling Riverside Blues") show how far Jacobs-Strain has moved from the country-blues of his earlier releases. On the latter tune he approximates Robert Plant's lemon-squeezing vocals as the organ, piano, and guitar combine in a mix that moves it into the Southern swamps. "Christmas in July" is an upbeat rocker complete with an arena-ready chorus that's as pop as this set gets, for better or worse. Jacobs-Strain goes jazzy on "Black Glass Butterfly" as his husky voice meshes with a foot tapping, hand clapping, funky melody and some nifty fingerpicking that's one of this set's smile-inducing highlights. When he takes off into an acoustic solo, the combination of his Delta roots and a contemporary folk-rock sheen makes a powerful mix. Tunes such as the acoustic based "Rainbow Junkies" blend chilling imagery with sturdy, but never over the top vocals for a toxic concoction that balances folk, blues, and rock. Passarelli keeps the sound lean yet muscular when necessary, but it's Jacobs-Strain's sharp blues based, but not stereotypically blues, songs and passionate singing that make this his finest and yes, most commercial album to date.


Born: New Haven, CT

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '00s

David Jacobs-Strain has proven to be a breath of fresh air on both the folk festival and blues festival circuits, as his guitar playing style fuses elements of both traditional and contemporary folk and blues. Born in Connecticut but moving to Eugene, Oregon with his family, Jacobs-Strain graduated from South Eugene High School in 2001 and attended college in Northern California. He began accompanying himself on guitar while singing as a nine-year-old, with plenty of encouragement from his guitar...
Full bio
Liar's Day, David Jacobs-Strain
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