by Al Kaufman
Every generation needs its own hot shot blues guitarist. Some (Stevie Ray Vaughan) hold up better than others (Kenny Wayne Sheppard). David Jacobs-Strain released his first album at the tender age of 14. Eleven years and five albums later, the 24-year-old is still at it. On Liar’s Day, his first release since dropping the Northern Blues label, Jacobs-Strain demonstrates his guitar mastery like the veteran that he is.
Jacobs-Strain has always had a little country in his blues, a la Keith Whitley. The opening guitar lines to "Write Me a Few Short Lines" conjure up the vast, empty prarie. "Say It To My Face" is more straight ahead rock blues, with Jacobs-Strain even managing a Hendrix-like chuckle or two over his heavy chords. There is some nice boogie-woogie piano, courtesy of Joe Vitale, on the obligatory Robert Johnson cover, "Traveling Riverside Blues." On "Black Glass Butterfly" he demonstrates impressive guitar picking as well as old fashioned blues licks that would make Muddy Waters proud. He even closes the album with a tender ballad, "Old Tennis Shoes," which sounds like it was writen by a blues man about 50 years older than the wonderkind who wrote it. With a voice as big and beefy as his guitar, it is no wonder guitar gods such as Jorma Kaukonen and John Hammond are fans.