Chicago's Jake La Botz is a rootsy singer, songwriter, and guitarist with a rip-roaring blues and country-inflected style. Fascinated by tattoos, each year La Botz mounts a self-booked tour of American tattoo parlors, providing the perfect backdrop for his visceral musical vision, which draws heavily on the Delta blues and is delivered in a riveting, Tom Waits-like rasp and growl.
Moving to Chicago as a small child with his father, a truck driver, union organizer, and journalist, La Botz discovered vintage blues and hillbilly music at the library as a teenager. Dropping out of school, he began to travel and see the country, working a succession of labor jobs and developing his skills as a guitarist. Returning to Chicago, he began busking on street corners, mentoring with bluesmen like Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis and David "Honeyboy" Edwards, before leaving again on another round of travels, playing juke joints, blues clubs, and tattoo parlors.
As a recording artist, he debuted with 1999's The Original Soundtrack to My Nightmare, followed by 2002's Used to Be, 2004's All Soul and No Money, and 2006's Graveyard Jones. He also began a side career as an actor, appearing in Steve Buscemi's Animal Factory, where he was shown onscreen playing a couple of his songs. He went on to roles in a succession of films, including Lonesome Jim, Ghost World, Thirteen Moons, The Grey, and One Night with You, and had a recurring role in the TV series Gilmore Girls. More well-received albums followed, including 2008's Sing This to Yourself, 2010's I'm a Crow, and 2013's Get Right. In 2017, La Botz signed with bassist Jimmy Sutton's Hi-Style Records and released Sunnyside. Included on the album was the single "How I Wish She Was Mine." ~ Steve Leggett