David Jacobs-Strain at Club Helsinki

David Jacobs-Strain is a one-of-a kind musician, and not just because he’s self-described “vegetarian blues singer from Oregon” who writes “roots indie outlaw ganstagrass country blues songs.” Rather, it is because of his overwhelmingly colorful playing. He performed at Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY on the 17th, and it was a thrilling show. David Jacobs-Strain played many originals as well as a few covers, the latter including Steven Stills’ “Treetop Flier” and Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen.” David creates unusual sounds and tones with his instrument (alternating between three different ones at the show), and he plays with a hell of a lot of energy. Also adding energy to the show at Helsinki was Bob Beach, who was performing with David on harmonica.

The music David Jacobs-Strain plays is mainly blues, but it also contains elements of both folk and funk. David joked about being the weird kid at blues festivals, but he seems perfectly natural playing what he plays, nothing weird about it. His voice nicely filled out the space at Helsinki, as did his playing. In addition to strumming, sliding, and picking, David also tapped and slapped his guitar, creating percussive sounds. He sat perched on a white stool, at times leaning so far back on it that it seemed like he would fall off if not for his lengthy leg grounded on the floor, the other leg resting on a stool rung. In-between songs David kept the audience entertained with stories from his travels and life as a musician, drawing laughs with his self-deprecating humor. In addition to the above mentioned descriptions of his music, David also hilariously came up with one of my personal favorites, “Geekabilly.” I don’t know about the geeky part, but indeed, one of the songs the musicians played towards the end of the night was quite rockabilly inspired, an up-tempo swingin’ firecracker of a song. They also got into some boogie-woogie late in their set, closing the show with such a song called “Pine Mountain Boogie.” During it, David and Bob unplugged their instruments and played acoustic on stage before then walking into the audience to close the song, getting the whole crowd clapping and singing. The musicians were called back to shouts of “One more song!” and played a few more. It was an energetic, fun show full of the most wonderful tones a guitar can produce, accentuated by the lonesome quality of the harmonica.

Check out some videos from the show below:

High On A Mountain

Walking Blues

Ocean Or A Teardrop


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