David Jacobs-Strain - Reviews


"Without a doubt David is a very talented young guy, who should go all the way in the blues field...This is one album to seek out and buy."

-Dave Thomas
Blues On Stage
November, 2002 


"What can you say about a teenager who sings like a soulful 45-year-old and plays lights-out acoustic blues? Already a veteran performer and teacher at festivals in the Northwest, David Jacobs-Strain, all of 19, delayed enrollment at Stanford University last year to record this debut CD. Fans of Jacobs-Strain's mentor Otis Taylor will recognize Taylor's minimalist approach on songs like "River Was Green" and "Black and Blue," which feature stark, repetitive chord riffs, impassioned vocals, and lots of atmosphere in the production. But Jacobs-Strain's style has matured well beyond imitation. Showing off his considerable chops on the blistering "Sidewalk Rag," he makes an emphatic statement about old forms becoming new again. And in "Linin' Track," he turns a Leadbelly holler into a rollicking slide guitar number, making the tune his own."

-Ian Zack
Acoustic Guitar
December 2002 


"He's gruff, snarly, bold, sometimes brash and most always intense. His vocals convey strength and confidence."

-Les Reynolds
October 8, 2002 


"David Jacobs-Strain might still be young, but he has a formidable arsenal at his command...his slide work can be wonderfully dirty and his voice sounds as if he's spent several years eating gravel."

-Chris Nickson
All Music Guide
Autumn, 2002 


"Stuck on the Way Backreveals chilling original tunes that the solo acoustic blues artist takes to the edge with virtuosic slide and fingerpicking. Besides his fret-busting chops and barrelhouse vocals, Jacobs-Strain's deep knowledge of the past informs his music with an authenticity that is startling for his age."

-Dave Rubin
Guitar One
November 2002 


"Carrying on in the invigorating tradition of his friend and mentor Otis Taylor, teenage guitar prodigy Jacobs-Strain surfaces with one of the most powerful blues releases of the year."

-Gary von Tersch
Sing Out!
Off the Beaten Track
Vol. 46 No. 3, Fall 2002 


"He's a nineteen year old white kid from Connecticut who's preparing to enter Stanford, but he plays the music of 80 year old black men who've paid their dues on streetcorners throughout the Mississippi delta. "

-Phillip Buchan
Splendid E-zine
August 26, 2002 


"...it's clear that Jacobs-Strain has the potential to be one of the traditional acoustic blues' brightest lights. If he's this brilliant now, imagine what he'll be like at 99."

-Genevieve Williams
Blues Revue
October/November 2002 


"...the sound is haunting and uplifting, as blues songs tend to be once you get to know them. A spellbinding effort."

-Bill Ribas
NY Rock
Street Beat
August 1, 2002 


"He not oly has the classic country licks and tunings down, but he also has been able to exercise the creativity of the folk/blues process by creating his own songs in the tradition."

-Dr. J
Twelve Bar Rag
the Suncoast Blues Society July/August 2002 


"The power of this album is unmistakable. From the first notes, it is apparent that this disc is not to be missed. The guitar work alone is enough to recommend this set, but Jacobs-Strain has one of those old man voices(particularly surprising for such a young guy) that resonates with the moan of his picking. One of the finds of the year, certainly."

-Jon Worley
Aiding and Abetting
July, 2002 


"Here’s a young guitarist to watch...By age 12, David had performed in the Passing The Blues presentation at the Northwest Folklife Festival. He is now the youngest faculty member in the Port Townsend County Blues Workshop working alongside such luminaries as Otis Taylor, Del Rey, Orville Johnson and the remarkable Ann Rabson."

-Richard Bourcier
Jazz Review.com
Summer, 2002 


"His original material is skillfully crafted and displays a lyrical sensibility that is almost as refined as his playing. Vocally, too, he displays a maturity that is far beyond his years, belting out the blues like someone who's been in the trenches for decades."

-Doug Gallant
The Guardian, PEI
June 7, 2002 


"Nineteen year-old David Jacob-Strain's new CD, Stuck on the Way Back, is a worthwhile blues disc. Dealing with lyrics about unfortunate situations, Jacob-Strain tells stories about sad times when people hit rock bottom in their lives. The folky-blues backbone that accompanies the songs provides a suitable compliment, conveying humanitarian insight with the guitar licks. Songs range in subject matter from heroin addiction to relationship difficulties, all presented in a manner similar to Ani Difranco's more angry days. Stuck on the Way Back is not your typical fun-times record, but those looking for a disc full of emotion and pain might want to check this out."

-Sarah Wostenberg
The Gauntlet, Calgary
June 13, 2002 


When it comes to some serious blues, I can always count on NorthernBlues Music to have the artists that deliver the goods every time. David Jacobs-Strain is no exception. He's another fine example of what a great blues label can produce. For those of you who thought that the blues was pretty much dead, you'll be surprised to know that there are blues artists who have the soul, the passion, and the raw feel of the legends. David Jacobs-Strain is one of those artists. His style is so emotional and true, that it may just be a sin. David pours on the purity with every song on this album. I was simply amazed at the depth that this great artist has. By the way, did I mention that he's 19?

Seldom do you hear someone this young who sounds this experienced and soulful. I you were to just listen to the music, I bet no one would guess how young this artist is. That's amazing in itself, but I was told long ago that if you got, you're born with it. Some just find it sooner than others. I see that David found his pretty early on. DJS is as serious as a blues artist will get. This music is down home and down righ powerful. If you're looking for music that moves you, this is certainl something to check into."

-Michael Allison
Music Dish
Summer, 2002 


"The album, which includes three traditional songs and seven originals, shows off Jacobs-Strain's newfound skills as a songwriter and spotlights his moaning blues vocals and percussive, banjo-like guitar style. His slide guitar and fast finger-picking techniques also are in evidence. And while the album rests on a foundation of traditional blues, the addition of the mbira, an African finger piano, and the stringed African kora bring added layers to the production."

-Lewis Taylor
The Register-Guard
May 31, 2002 


"David Jacobs-Strain is an accomplished player well beyond his years. He writes music like an untamed animal just waiting to be unleashed upon the world, shouting out, "Hey everybody! Listen up! I've got something to say!" And it's not your everyday bump'n'grind guitar licks happening here, either. His material comes across like a master as yet undiscovered. An acoustic gem ready to take on all comers and deservedly awaiting his place among the elite of his profession."

-Greg Johnson
June, 2002 


Power Guitarist, David Jacobs-Strain, sings and plays the country blues. At the age of seventeen, seasoned with performances at the region's premier blues and folk festivals, he has gained a reputation throughout the Pacific Northwest for his intensely soulful singing and slide guitar work.

"His sure hands on the guitar and heartfelt vocals reveal a maturity of understanding of the music that makes it fascinating to speculate where his music might go from here."

-John Thompson
Eugene Register Guard

He has a rare ability to make the old songs his own, breathing new life into the treasured musical styles of the Mississippi delta bluesmen.

"Hearing the wizened, slurred vocalizations and achingly bent notes come out of this slight kid with glasses, and from his National guitar, as he plays "Poor Boy" and "Stagolee", is pretty amazing."

-Paul de Barros
The Seattle Times

Original works on his 1999 CD album "Skin And Bones" demonstrate a compelling, personal and innovative style. The album is strong evidence of a new generation embracing and building on the roots of the blues.

In 1999 and 2000 he became the Port Townsend Country Blues Workshop's youngest-ever faculty member. In 2001 he joins the Blues Week staff at the
Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV.

"Jacobs-Strain's rendition of "Poor Boy" while playing a National resonator guitar was an outstanding moment at July's stellar Waterfront Blues Festival."

-Mike Doke
Cascade Blues Association "Blues Notes"

"David played live in the radio studio on my show tonight for almost an hour. He was smokin', lemme tell you. It was quite an experience. He played and stomped and sang and pounded out his own original style. He played and sang every note like he meant it. It was a powerful experience being in the studio with him...and I'm sure the emotion and two-way communication carried throughout the radio waves. I love his slashing slide style, his own original touches that pervade each song he plays and sings, his so-percussive style of playing guitar, and that he plays and sings each note like it may be his last."

-Craig Griffin
KAFM, 88.1 FM
"Blue Hotel", Grand Junction, Colorado