Recorded at an Oregon juke joint over the course of two nights last December, “Live From the Left Coast” showcases the many (and mighty) talents of the young acoustic roots-blues musician David Jacobs-Strain – unadorned and unenhanced.
Though he’s still in his mid-twenties, Jacobs-Strain plays and sings with the skill and confidence of a veteran. Not a big surprise, considering that he recorded his first album while he was still in high school, which is to say that despite his youth, he’s been at this for a while.
And he’s earned his rapidly growing stature honestly, having already wowed crowds at MerleFest, the Newport Folk Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival. Oh yeah, he also teaches guitar workshops at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch.
Deeply anchored in the blues – as evidenced by his selection of such covers as Robert Johnson’s “Come On in My Kitchen,” Stephen Stills’ “Treetop Flyer” and Taj Mahal’s “Big Legged Mamas” – Jacobs-Strain’s guitar playing scorches and crackles one moment and weeps the next.
And his original tunes are every bit the equal of his covers, too. “Hurricane Railroad” howls with his sizzling guitar slide work, and the opening “Rainbow Junkies” is a haunting guitar meditation that brings to mind Leo Kottke by way of Sandy Bull. The resonator guitar funk of the moanin’ “Lookin’ for a Home” already sounds like a vintage classic.
Jacobs-Strain is plenty talented enough to carry the musical load all by himself on this collection of a dozen tunes, but he’s joined here by blues harp veteran Bob Beach, who blows with similar fire and passion.
Slide-driven country blues blues and compelling, folk-leaning original songs are served up here with equal authority.