CD Review: David Jacobs-Strain — Live from the Left Coast; Playing Eddie’s Attic, October 28

[ 0 ] October 20, 2011 |

David Jacobs-Strain
Live from the Left Coast

By Al Kaufman

At the ripe old age of 25, David Jacobs-Strain is a seasoned vet in this folk-blues guitar game, and he sounds like it. He plays that slide guitar like a girlfriend.

Live from the Left Coast, recorded at the Rolling and Tumbling temporary juke joint in Eugene, Ore., in December of 2010, is just Jacobs-Strain and Bob Beach on blues harp. Imagine Stevie Ray Vaughan without Double Trouble and you start to get the idea. His guitar sizzles and moans, especially on the forlorn “Rainbow Junkies.”  His voice may not resonate like that of a 70-year-old blues master in a wrinkled suit, but it does compare favorably to contemporaries such as the late Chris Whitley.

While this live release is mostly originals, Jacobs-Strain really shines when he tears down and reconstructs others’ tunes,  such as Stephen Stills “Treetop Flyer” and Taj Mahal’s “Big Legged Mamas.” Both Mahal and Stills have their share of soul, but Jacobs-Strain doubles it.

Though his original songs allow him to showcase his slide and fingering skills, they lack the depth that his covers contain. They have their moments, such as the crescendo ending on “Ocean Or a Teardrop.” And the funky rockabilly sound of “Neon Star” is a rollicking good time, but Jacobs-Strain should not be forgiven for “Halfway to the Coast,” which can only be described as his John Mayer Moment.

Overall, Live from the Left Coast is a record for guitar geeks. It is a lesson on how to finger pick and play the slide. Bob Beach’s harmonica adds to the swampy feel. Their interplay feels like they’ve been doing this together for more than the quarter century that Jacobs-Strain has been alive. Nice stuff.

David Jacobs-Strain plays Eddie’s Attic on Friday, October 28. 


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Category: CD Reviews, Gigs

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