DAVID JACOBS-STRAIN

REVIEWS

Kathy Sands-Boehmer, Me & Thee Blogspot, April 6, 2008

     Quick Q and A with David Jacobs-Strain 

    "David Jacobs-Strain is one of those wunderkinds who is so young and 
     has been honing his trade in the music business for years already. 
     David recorded his first album while still in high school and was 
     a faculty member at a local country blues workshop in his teens. 
     Lately he's been touring the country, playing his sweet Delta-soaked 
     blues to clubs, theatres, and coffeehouses. He's definitely a force 
     to be reckoned with!..."

Robert Kinsler, Orange County Register, July 18, 2007

    Boz Scaggs is still silky smooth at 60
    
    "One of the joys of getting to a show early is the chance to discover 
     promising young talent. Such was the case with the impressive and 
     memorable 30-minute set from David Jacobs-Strain..."

Jorma Kaukonen, Online Diary, August 27, 2006

    Fur Peace Ranch, Meigs County

    "The show at the Fur Peace Station last night was simply outstanding. David Jacobs-Strain 
    opened with a spectacular set. A thoroughly modern young musician while still being 
    totally at home with the tradition and idiom, his performance was stellar! Add to this 
    his marvelous voice and there you have the new guard coming on strong.

    "My old friend, John Hammond, was peerless as always. He spent some time sharing his 
    journey with the audience, and quite a journey it is. He is quite simply a national 
    treasure and he just gets better and better. The blues have taken him many places that 
    most never get to see. He has more than returned the favor by taking the blues to strange 
    corners of the world. The old guard is more than safe with him.

    "It was all made more perfect for me when both of these fine gentlemen invited me on stage 
    to sit in for a bit. If there is any more perfection in life than this on a late summer 
    evening... I need to know about it!

    "Onward!"

Dennis Cook, www.jambase.com, July 17, 2006

     HIGH SIERRA 2006: HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
     Taking My Chances with The David Jacobs-Strain Trio

     "Somebody tell me, please, about the soul of a man," growled David
      Jacobs-Strain. His baby face hides a grizzled old soul that emerges in a thick,
      commanding voice into which he's finally growing. Jacobs-Strain has been a
      regular on the blues circuit since he was 11 years old, but he's really come
      into his own on recent albums produced by the great Kenny Passarelli. 2004's
      Ocean or a Teardrop revealed a complex artist determined to venture outside
      traditional blues boundaries. At two sets on the Big Meadow that bookended the
      festival, he built on the new flavors revealed on Ocean, combining spirited
      picking with a nicely restless imagination. Joined by hand-percussionist Jarrod
      Kaplan and bassist Will Lydgate, he cherry-picked blues standards, his own
      records, and compelling new material. The initial lure for many may be
      Jacobs-Strain's dizzying acoustic guitar playing. The National Steel guitar has
      rarely sounded as loud and proud in other hands, but he continually pitched
      things to his band mates, sharing the spotlight when it would be very easy not
      to. There's a likable humility to Jacobs-Strain. His intellectually-charged
      lyrics bring a fresh snap to blues forms, inspiring a small rush on the merch
      table when he played the title tune from Ocean, a tale of broken promises and
      tired soldiers that ends with the line, "There's no oil, no love, When the war
      is done." He nailed Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen," one of the litmus
      tests of the blues.

     "Subtle but always moving forward, the trio was relaxed, confident, and engaged.
      Perhaps the highlight of both sets was Thursday's "Take My Chances," an
      original that Jacobs-Strain introduced as being "about the cash economy in
      Western Oregon." This clear-eyed weed rumination culminates in the memorable
      "The world has always grown sativa, Always had and always will. Some for love
      and some for money, Better still to touch the earth." David Jacobs-Strain could
      have chosen the easier path of traditional blues recreation. Instead, he's
      determined to move the thick blue line behind him a few miles forward."


A. Oviedo, Amazon.com, June 8, 2006

    "I first saw David Jacob-Strain at the Kerrville Folk Festival and wasn't 
     sure what to expect from such a young kid. However, as he opened up his set 
     with an acoustic piece, shivers spread immediately all over my body. The 
     ferver in which he played only grew with each song, regardless of the 
     instrument he took up, and I knew as soon as he finished (with a standing 
     ovation from the entire crowd) that I needed to buy his albums.

    "I'm not disappointed. Any fan of Ani Difranco (I know, she's not blues... 
     but the complexity of guitar talent parallels) will love his music. I 
     recommend that regardless of your music genre of choice, you will highly 
     enjoy listening to the intricate musical exploration on which David Jacobs-
     Strain will take you. Still, if you want to see the best of his music, 
     PLEASE see him perform live. That, in my opinion, is where he is at his 
     most comfortable and best."

Gerard MacCrossan,The Daily Times, Kerrville, TX, May 30, 2006

    Folk Festival opens on high note

   "QUIET VALLEY RANCH  —Old names and young up-and-comers shared the 
    stage this weekend at the Kerrville Folk Festival.
    
    The 35th annual event proved its endurance among festival die-hards where the 
    returning Kerr-verts and first-time Kerr-virgins alike experienced a bustling 
    opening weekend. The promise of a good attendance came to fruition with billed 
    headliner Guy Clark pulling in festivalgoers in on Sunday night...
    
    Part of the folk festival's attraction for some is the variety of performers 
    from across the musical spectrum. Following the three Texans, blues musician 
    David Jacobs-Strain changed the pace when he and his guitars took the stage in 
    the Kennedy Outdoor Theater..."

Terry Odor, Cascade Blues Association, Portland, OR, May 20, 2006

    "His last album Ocean or a Teardrop was my favorite album of 2004. I went to
     his CD release in Portland for that ... I thought he couldn't possibly get any 
     better. He did! I saw David and his Trio tonight at Portland, Oregon's Mississippi 
     Studios and saw what was no doubt the most satisfying show I have seen this year, 
     at least. If this guy gets anywhere near you, consider it a "must see" show!"

John Stifler, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, MA, July 21, 2005

     TIME OUT:  David Jacobs-Strain's something-else blues

    "IF you're going to the Iron Horse tonight or tomorrow, you're probably going 
     because Fred Eaglesmith is the main act, and you know, or you've heard, that 
     Eaglesmith is one of a handful of singer/songwriter/guitarists who, as the 
     Michelin guides say, are worth not just a detour, but a whole trip in itself.

     In my experience at the Northampton club, no other songwriter with the exception
     of Richard Thompson has more completely grabbed an Iron Horse audience by its 
     collective label, belly, you name, and shaken it with the force of his stage 
     performance than Fred Eaglesmith.  No wonder the Horse books him for two nights.

     But this time around, Eaglesmith has an opening act you'll want to see again for
     his own sake.  This is David Jacobs-Strain, a 22-year-old visionary from Eugene,
     Ore., with a precocious understanding of the ancient roots of blues and an 
     exhilarating ability to explore some of its previously unknown passageways..."

Dave Rubin, Play Blues Guitar, May 2005

    David Jacobs-Strain at B.B. King's, Apr 05, NYC
    
    "Exhibiting cool confidence, 21-year old David-Jacobs Strain from San 
     Francisco by way of Oregon took the stage and proceeded to captivate 
     the capacity house..."

Dave "Doc" Piltz, Blues On Stage, May 2005

    "...With the release of An Ocean or a Teardrop, David Jacobs-Strain has created a very 
     impressive new CD. His mixture of the blues with other genres and added instrumentation 
     makes the CD interesting and entertaining listening from start to finish. Jacobs-
     Strain's vocals, guitar prowess and the creative ideas he brings to the music, make this 
     a fine effort by the young bluesman. With his fine guitar and distinctive songwriting, 
     An Ocean or a Teardrop is definitely recommended listening..." 

G.W., Dirty Linen, April/May 2005

    "With his fifth album, his second for the NorthernBues label, David
     Jacobs-Strain shows that all the approbation that's come his way of late
     is well earned. There has been a slew of young guitarists in recent
     years littering the blues-rock landscape, but Jacobs-Strain is the real
     deal.  For one thing, he doesn't just rock out: he's learned the art of
     crossing musical boundaries from the masters.  His music has a fiery passion
     that's exciting and engaging, tempered with an aesthetic reminiscent of
     the Pacific Northwest, where he grew up and cut his first guitar strings.
     Don't be fooled by his youth; Jacobs-Strain knows what he's doing."

Mark Drnek, Blue Light Central, WSRK, 103.9 FM, Oneonta, NY, April 26, 2005

    "David Jacobs-Strain is arguably one of the finest blues musicians of his 
     generation. Barely into his twenties, his guitar virtuosity, his voice 
     and his song-writing would be the envy of most musicians twice his age."

John Ginn, Eugene Weekly, Eugene, OR, April 13, 2005

    "If you've followed the Eugene music scene at all the last several years
     you've undoubtedly heard of David Jacobs-Strain. He's the former wunderkind,
     now 22-year-old, who's been hailed since he was a teen as a future blues
     giant. In a recent phone interview, Jacobs-Strain talked about what he's
     been up to lately..."
		   

Ian Zack, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, February 2005

    "With his second CD for the Canadian Northern Blues label, David
     Jacobs-Strain, at the ripe old age of 21, has delivered an uncannily
     mature record that is true to country blues traditions while making a bold
     grab for rock and pop crossover appeal. Jacobs-Strain's virtuosic
     acoustic and slide guitar skills are certainly on display, as on his
     breakneck bottleneck rendition of Sleepy John Estes' The Girl I
     Love. But it's his impassioned singing and growing talents as a
     songwriter that take center stage here... If radio gives him a chance,
     Jacobs-Strain is poised to make a major impression on the music world."

Dave Rubin, Guitar One Magazine, February 2005

    "David Jacobs-Strain... in combining  intelligence and passion with fierce 
     chops is clearing his own path to a powerful musical identity."

WYCE-FM, Grand Rapids, Michigan

    "It only took David 20 years to become a force of nature." 

Jim Harrington, Metroactive Music, San Jose, CA, January 19, 2005

     School Daze:  David Jacobs-Strain grows into his voice on 'Ocean'
     
    "COLLEGE LIFE is a balancing act.... Every college student faces similar scheduling
     conflicts, but a Bay Area bookworm has to juggle schoolwork with the demands that
     come with a musical career on the upswing. At just 21, blues vocalist-guitarist 
     David Jacobs-Strain already has four CDs out and appearances at major events like
     MerleFest and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The Stanford cultural and
     social anthropology major will take a break from his studies to celebrate the 
     release of his new CD, Ocean or a Teardrop, his second release on the
     NorthernBlues Music label
     "...Ocean is a fine rebuttal against those who once wanted to write Jacobs-Strain 
     off as a novelty act."

Joshua Rotter, East Bay Express, Music: Hearsay, January 5, 2005

    "The acclaimed blues guitarist's fifth (!) release takes the 21-year-old (!)
     wunderkind into uncharted territory, combining American roots sensibilities 
     -- his alternatingly gruff and rich voice backed by fiddle, harmonica, and 
     washtub drum -- with world instruments such as the Turkish oud, African kora,
     congas, and djembe. The combination makes sense on an album that examines our
     government's recent failures on the international front, condemning attacks 
     on countries an ocean away rather than shedding tears for war's human 
     casualties.

    "If Ocean or a Teardrop's title track (an intensely metaphorical, gospel-
     infused, fiddle-filled meditation on war) and "Shoot the Devil" (an attack 
     on W's brand of cowboy justice) seem dire, "Earthquake" finds the bearer of 
     bad news taking a decidedly optimistic approach, as he predicts an eminently 
     approaching anti-Republican social backlash, Book of Revelations-style. But 
     if the politics unnerve you, feel free to enjoy the tune's acoustic-guitar 
     fireworks, reminiscent of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia..." 

Derk Richardson, SFGate.com The Hear & Now, January 6, 2005

    Beyond The Blues:  
     Stanford student David Jacobs-Strain is a blues phenom but he wants more.

    "If the blues is searching for a savior, it will have to look beyond David 
     Jacobs-Strain. Although the young guitar phenomenon from Eugene, Ore., is 
     hailed far and wide for the way he roots his dazzling fretwork and authentic, 
     soulful voice in the Mississippi Delta, he aims for higher ground beyond 
     the blues..."

Eric Thom, Blues Revue, December 2004

    "His masterful fingerpicking and unholy slide technique thrust him
     into a new category of old-school..."

J. Poet, Paste Magazine, Issue #13, 2004

     Hand Made Music
     
    "David Jacobs-Strain—the young man with the age-old voice and guitar chops that 
     make players twice his age break out in a cold sweat—plows new ground with his 
     latest, Ocean Or A Teardrop..." 

Camille Ricketts, Stanford Magazine, November/December 2004

    "Reinventing the Blues.
     Critics agree: watch this musician..."

Jim Santella, All About Jazz, November 28, 2004

     Anaheim Downtown Community Center, Anaheim, California
     November 20, 2004

    "Communicating with his audience like a fired-up veteran of the blues, 21-year-old
     David Jacobs-Strain brought his acoustic guitars and his powerful vocal style to 
     Anaheim for a thrilling get-together that ushered in the holiday season with 
     open arms. Performing alone on stage in the comfortable room, he mixed originals 
     with down-home blues roots classics that had the audience rockin' in their seats 
     and stompin' the floor gently with rhythmic enthusiasm. Jacobs-Strain has a 
     contagious delivery that overpowers..."

Bonnie Johnson, The Stanford Daily, November 19, 2004

     Majoring in Rockstar Studies: David Jacobs-Strain

    "They appear in fanzines; they tour incessantly; they live in the dorms. Who are 
     these mysterious stars of the underground? Stanford students.

     It's a little known fact that rock lives here at Stanford and that at least a few 
     here live to rock. A handful of Stanford students have pursued their music like 
     the crazy folks they are and made it in their respective scenes thanks to 
     distinctive styles and a whole lot of hard work. This week: David Jacobs-Strain..."

Genevieve Williams, Widdershins, November 2004

     Earth Tones: Parting the Veil with Music

     "Jacobs-Strain brings the cost of war home on a personal level with this 
     song, with a multi-layered musical arrangement that's a feast for the 
     ears, and a lyrical sensitivity that recognizes the inevitability of human 
     conflict without being resigned to it. Pretty sophisticated stuff for a 
     21-year-old, and there's plenty more to come on this solid and soul-catching
     album...>

JNS, Aftertaste.com

    "With a deep bluesy voice, Jacobs-Strain delivers what blues fans have
     been waiting for.  He hits every nerve with his searing voice..." 

Chris Nickson, All Music Guide

    "Getting better on the guitar every day, never flashing or arrogant 
     about his talent, Jacobs-Strain is set to become a major figure
     in music, not just blues..."

Chip O'Brien, Minor 7th

    "Jacobs-Strain has delivered a blues album fans will be talking about for years 
     to come. From the opening resophonic guitar riff of Mississippi Fred McDowell's 
     Kokomo Blues straight through to the impassioned and desperate vocal of the final
     track, a song penned by Jacobs-Strain titled Illinois, Ocean or a Teardrop
     sizzles with an energy rarely present on modern blues releases..."

Steven Shih, Palo Alto Weekly, September 24, 2004

    "A mesmerizing country blues performer who plays with the intensity 
     of the most fervent revivalist..."

Jim Cornelius, Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon, August 31, 2004

     Blues ace showcases musical evolution

    "David Jacobs-Strain has no problem dazzling audiences and critics 
     alike with his fluid and passionate acoustic guitar chops..."

Robert Reid, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, September 4, 2004

    "Ocean Or A Teardrop delivers big time, with a blend of 
     raw Americana fused with sounds from around the world."

Jim Harrington, Oakland Tribune, April 23, 2004

     MUSIC-O-RAMA: Five Bay Area Acts Ready To Break Out

    "We picked five Bay Area musicians with the biggest break-out 
     potential. The fact that these artists cover such a wide range of
     stylistic ground, from jazz and blues to hip-hop and pop, is a
     strong testament to the vibrancy of the entire local music scene."

Adam St. James, Guitar.com, February 2004

     David Jacobs-Strain
     The Prodigal Son?

   "Blues is born from the depth of the soul, not the depth of the experience. Such 
    might be the mantra of one David Jacobs-Strain, 20, of Eugene, Oregon. David is 
    quickly making a name for himself on the national folk and blues scene for his 
    adept playing and heartfelt Delta-styled singing. If you've already seen and heard 
    David play, you know that while he might be young of age, he is not lacking in the 
    soulful resonance needed to convey a great blues song..."
    

Dave Rubin, Guitar One Magazine, January 2004

     LIVE!
     David Jacobs-Strain
     Bottom Line >> New York City  [August 22, 2003]

    "For a young artist, being heralded as the "new Dylan" can be a mixed
     blessing.  While obviously a compliment of the highest order, the
     expectations can be a heavy burden.  Twenty-year-old acoustic guitarist
     David Jacobs-Strain, from Eugene, Oregon, however, has the vocal and
     instrumental chops, along with the compositional skills and, most
     importantly, the moral convictions, to give it a shot.  One can draw a
     straight line from Dylan's intrepretation, at age 21, of Blind Lemon
     Jefferson's "See That My Grave is Kept Clean" to Jacobs-Strain's harrowing
     version of Bill Monroe's "Wild Bill Jones."  Switching on this night from
     a Jeff Traugott flat-top to National Resophonic Style "O", Jacobs-Strain
     plumbed the depths of his young "old" soul, keeping the blues as his
     companion.  Throughout his set, and especially on his original "Sidewalk
     Rag" and "Poor Boy," he maintained muscular driving rhythms while peeling
     off torrents of cleanly picked notes and keening slide melodies." --DR

Michael Cote, The Daily Camera, Boulder Colorado, Friday Magazine Section, September 12, 2003

      David Jacobs-Strain: Bluesman connects with tradition

     "No one would ever accuse David Jacobs-Strain of writing a party 
      soundtrack. While the blues to people his age might suggest frenzied 
      electric guitars solos and songs about booze and bad love, the 
      20-year-old Stanford sophomore goes for much deeper stuff...."

Dan Gewertz, Boston Herald, The Edge, August 15, 2003

      Newport Folk Festival hails fresh young talent

     "One of the most amazing among those talented musicians is David 
      Jacobs-Strain, a blues guitarist and singer from Eugene, Ore., who 
      just turned 20 on Wednesday...."

Charles Avenengo, Newport This Week, August 14, 2003

      Old, new and in between at this year's folk festival

     "Another artist to keep an eye out for is a newcomer to Newport. David 
      Jacobs-Strain is a 20-year old blues guitarist who will play on Sunday. 
      While many 20-year-olds are still figuring out their lives,..."

Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix, August 1, 2003

     "This quiet but powerful bluesman has assimilated contemporary 
      slide-guitar artistry into the music's deepest tradition."

Tom Paxton, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, July 2003

     "I heard a young man - David Jacobs-Strain - at the Falcon Ridge Folk 
      Festival last weekend and he has tradition in his hands and heart. I 
      believe you'll be hearing a lot from and about him in years to come. 
      Something to look forward to!

John Metzger, The Music Box, February 2003

     "...a terrific guitarist too, capable of tearing into a rhythmic groove with
     amazing dexterity... It isn't clear as to why, at the age of nineteen, 
     Jacobs-Strain inhabits the world-weariness of the blues that most folks 
     twice his age seem to lack. Suffice it to say that whatever the reason, 
     Jacobs-Strain is the real deal &emdash; a blues artist to watch."

Kelly Vance, East Bay Express, Billboard, "He's Ready", January 22, 2003

    "Blues singer-guitarist phenom David Jacobs-Strain sounds 
     like he just fell off a southbound freight train..."

Lewis Taylor, Register Guard, "For winter break, Jacobs-Strain makes music for old friends", January 3, 2003

    "Eugene native David Jacobs-Strain, now a freshman at Stanford University,
     played some local shows while home for the holidays."

Jim Harrington, San Mateo County Times, "Singing the freshman blues", November 20, 2002

    "If there is one thing that stands out about this 
     young blues player's music it's how real it is."

Dave Rubin, Guitar One Magazine, cover story: "The New Guitar Heroes", November 2002

    "Stuck On The Way Back reveals chilling original tunes that
     the solo acoustic blues artist takes to the edge with virtuosic 
     slide and finger picking. 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." 

Ian Zack, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Hit List, December 2002

    "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."

Mark Gresser, Music Matters Review, #15, December 2002

    "Jacobs-Strain has authored a compelling and driving piece of 
     guitar/vocal artistry... Hanging over the entire work is an air
     of inevitability and cold harshness yet it is with a tremendously 
     fluent and sensitive hand. If Otis Taylor is your type of blues, 
     David Jacobs-Strain takes it a step further on. If deep hurt and 
     pain sung and played like an ancient by this young virtuoso is 
     your blues, it is here... a compelling listen."

Maurice S. Teilmann, Synthesis, November 2002, Chico, California

    "One listen through his latest release, Stuck On The Way Back 
     (Northernblues Music), reveals the soulful voice and expert licks of 
     a truly gifted player who can capture the feel and soul demonstrated
     by the blues players of old. What's even more amazing is Jacobs-Strain's 
     catalog of original numbers, all displaying his beautiful, poignant 
     acoustic blues and heartfelt lyrics."

Les Reynolds, Indie-Music.com, October 8, 2002

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

Gary Von Tersch, Sing Out!, Off the Beaten Track, Fall 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... His style is
     reminiscent of the late John Fahey's Takoma-era heyday."

Genevieve Williams Blues Revue, Oct/Nov 2002

    "has the mature touch and thoughtful songwriting usually associated
     with a much older artist. So forget about his age and concentrate 
     on the delights of his fourth album, Stuck On The Way Back...
     it's clear that Jacobs-Strain has the potential to be one of
     traditional acoustic blues' brightest lights.  If he's brilliant now,
     image what he'll be like at 99."

Guitar One Magazine, "Hot Licks" new blues releases, October 2002

    "Sidewalk Rag should have Leo Kottke looking 
     over his shoulder."

Ted Drozdowski, Tower Records "Pulse! Magazine", CD review, September 2002

    "Fleet acoustic-guitar picker Jacobs-Strain has the
     potential to become one of the music's young lions..."

Chris Nickson, All Music Guide, AMG Review, 2002

    "...guitar technique and power that's second to none and a
     voice that's decades older than his baby face...
     one of the best of a new generation."

Judith Gennett, Green Man Review, CD review, August 2002

    "Jacobs-Strain is a railroad train, a diesel powerhouse of 
     raw energy, technical skill, speed, and soul."

Phillip Buchan, Splendid E-zine, CD review, August 26, 2002

    "...masterfully-played album. Even the most ardent blues 
     hater should be able to dredge up some grudging respect 
     for Jacobs-Strain's accomplishments here"

Bill Ribas, New York Rock, Street Beat, August 1, 2002

    "...the sound is haunting and uplifting"
    "A spellbinding effort."

Jon Worley, Aiding & Abetting #231, July 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."

Bill Mitchell, Blues Bytes, CD Review, July 2002, Vol. 7, No. 8

    "I popped the new CD from Oregon teenager David Jacobs-Strain in my 
     disc player, expecting to hear still another young 'Stevie Ray Vaughan 
     wannabe.'  Instead, my ears were treated to some of the finest acoustic 
     guitar wizardry I've heard in a long, long time. To put it bluntly, 
     this kid can flat out play!  ... I've always considered it a compliment 
     for any six-string guitarist to be compared to Leo Kottke, whose guitar 
     work I've admired for more than 25 years. Here, Jacobs-Strain evokes 
     memories of some of Kottke's best work..."

John Taylor, Blues On Stage, CD review, July 2002

    "An excellent disc, and yet another triumph for NorthernBlues, 
     arguably the most important label around right now."

Eric Steiner, Cosmik Debris Magazine, No. 85, July 2002

    "There are few acoustic blues players that make me sit up and take notice, but 
     Oregon's David Jacobs-Strain is one that caught my attention with his fourth CD, 
     Stuck on the Way Back. He's quite an accomplished player in the style of Taj Mahal, 
     Guy Davis, or Otis Taylor. You get the picture: a genuine throwback player with real 
     traditional and acoustic blues on the National Reso-Phonic guitar. This year, he'll 
     return to the Port Townsend Country Blues Workshop for his third year as a member of
     the guitar faculty, and I'm simply amazed that he won't turn 20 for another year. 
     When he plays the traditional "Poor Boy Blues" or R.L. Burnside's "Poor Black Mattie,"
     he's respectfully honoring generations of bluesmen and blueswomen with fresh takes 
     on traditional blues, and he's built up quite a following at festivals like the Beale
     Street Caravan, California World Music Festival, or Portland's Waterfront Blues 
     Festival. If you enjoy the sparse, yet emotionally powerful blues of mentor and label 
     mate Otis Taylor, pick up David Jacobs-Strain."

Richard Bourcier, Jazz Review, CD review, 2002

Michael Allison, Music Dish, CD review, June 26, 2002

    "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."

Lewis Taylor, Eugene Register-Guard, cover article in "Ticket", May 31, 2002

Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Notes, CD review, June 2002

    "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."
    "...extraordinary guitar work that'd make John Fahey proud"

Tim Holek, Blues Bytes,May 2002

     "At 18, David Jacobs-Strain is one of the best 
     guitarists of his generation. But it's his mighty 
     vocals that will knock you over..."

Wade Tatangelo, The Oracle, April 25, 2002 (Tampa, FL)

John Valenteyn, John's Blues Picks, Toronto Blues Society, June 2002

Mary Armstrong, Philadelphia City Paper, March 1, 2001

    "...The sound of a well-played slide guitar had me peeping into one room where a
     17-year-old white boy was playing the hell out of his acoustic guitar. David 
     Jacobs-Strain’s CD (Longest Road I Know on Hang-Dog Music) shows a Connecticut 
     native who has assimilated both the vocal and picked language of blues so 
     thoroughly that he is writing convincing originals."

Judith Gennett, The Columbia Gypsy Music Archive, May 31, 2001

Greg Johnson, Cascade Blues Notes, June, 2001

    "The Longest Road I Know is a collection of live dates that David has 
     played during the past year at a handful of West Coast settings stretching
     from Tacoma, Washington to Berkeley, California.  The material he has chosen
     is an example of his influences, ranging from early Acoustic Bluesman, Mississippi
     Fred McDowell and Sleepy John Estes, to modern heroes like R.L. Burnside and 
     Otis Taylor.  Each song is reworked effectively and delivered in a manner that 
     holds a bright outlook for David's future as a musician and songwriter. His original
     number, "Silver On Your Decks", stands easily alongside the traditional numbers it
     follows and as a whole, this CD should be turning heads all over the country. Pick
     up on David Jacobs-Strain now, because talent like this cannot be hidden from the 
     rest of the Blues world forever. Once they do catch on, he's going to find himself 
     in constant demand and we can look back and say, "I remember seeing him when. . . " 
     If you enjoy straight-forward Acoustic Blues, then this is one recording you'll 
     want to check out."

Shawn Strannigan, Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon, September 11, 2001

5-star reviews: Amazon.com, September 19, 2001

Eric Black, Blue Country, "Roots Album of the Month, April 2000", Queensland, Australia

Bill Fountain, Southwest Blues Magazine, June 2000

    CD Reviews Archives
         David Jacobs-Strain -- Skin And Bones (Hang Dog Music 9902)

    "'The joys and sufferings of many people are there in the texture of the music. 
     While I am drawn to play in the tradition of the music, I have no agenda. I am 
     not trying to reproduce and preserve the old blues like an ethnomusicologist or 
     folklorist. For me the intensity of the music itself is the obsession - it 
     challenges the soul.' Thus spoke little David Jacobs Strain via the liner notes 
     and I am inclined to take his word for it. This 15-year-old from Eugene, Oregon 
     is being toted as a slide guitar phenom; with two releases under his belt, several 
     headline articles, and buzz about his live festival shows. Whether or not he is a 
     prodigy, this teenage white boy has got the critics ooing and awing over his Delta 
     Blues work. Honestly, it is a bit disconcerting hearing some of the tunes on Skin 
     And Bones. Downright scary in some spots. What is so disturbing is that this 11th 
     grader definitely sings and plays with the fire and passion that fueled some of 
     the early artists he covers. The sound is heartfelt and raw. His voice strains 
     and pushes, the notes bend and ache. He may be conscious of his disassociation 
     with the previous performers of the tunes but his connection into that Blues 
     Collective is overpowering; it's like he's channeling spirits. His choice of 
     instruments is also of interest: A fretless Hawaiian guitar and bottleneck slide 
     on "Nobody's Fault;" A homemade diddley-bow and bottleneck slide on "Stagolee." 
     A National Resophonic guitar is the instrument of choice on most of the twelve tracks. 
     But away from the sheer novelty of the youthful performer, removed from the context 
     of the ironic contradictions, is this a worthwhile product? Answer: Yes. The textures 
     and layers in these tunes are powerful and intoxicating. There is an ageless mysticism 
     resounding in the chords that connects with that hurt hiding inside you. It will be 
     interesting to see where Strain takes it next."

John Irving, Once And Future Blues

Dave "Doc" Piltz, Delta Snake Daily Blues, August 2000

Bohouslav Budina, BBBlues Most, Czech Repbulic

     "Balsamic oil for your soul."

Paul de Barros, Seattle Times, June 24, 1999

     Guitarist, 15, Finds Passion In The Blues
         Paul De Barros  -- Special To The Seattle Times

     David Jacobs-Strain was all of 12 years old when he started attending Centrum's 
     Country Blues Workshop in Port Townsend. This year, at the ripe old age of 15, he 
     is an instructor.

    "It's exciting," says the Eugene, Ore., slide-guitar phenom, who already has played
     the Winthrop Blues Festival and issued two CDs under his own name - "First Friday 
     Live" and "Skin and Bone." "I was pretty surprised. I'm doing my best to leave people
     with some techniques and inspirations for getting deeper into the roots music of the
     United States."

     Jacobs-Strain is one of several artists who have been teaching this week and who 
     perform this weekend at the Country Blues Festival. The event starts tomorrow at 
     7 p.m. in the McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden State Park, and in six Port Townsend 
     nightclubs, and runs through Saturday night. Jacobs-Strain plays at the Saturday 
     2 p.m. concert. The other festival artists are John Miller, Cephas and Wiggins, 
     Michael Roach, Saffire (The Uppity Blues Women), Orville Johnson, Otis Taylor, 
     Jerry Ricks, Sherri Orr, Mark Graham, Del Ray, Sam Mitchell, Alice Stuart and 
     John Jackson.

     So how does a 15-year-old white kid from the suburbs, who's never even been to 
     the South, get into the Mississippi Delta blues?

     "I'm not exactly sure," answers this unusual prodigy, by telephone from Port Townsend.
     "It's rather illogical, isn't it? I started taking guitar lessons when I was about 9 
     and the person I was taking lessons from taught me `Backwater Blues.' It just kind of 
     progressed from there."

     Jacobs-Strain cites Taj Mahal, whom he heard at a free concert in Albany, Ore., as well 
     as hokum virtuoso Bob Brozman and Seattle's own Orville Johnson, as other early, live 
     inspirations. Recordings by Son House, Skip James, Fred MacDowell, R.L. Burnside, 
     Roosevelt Sykes and others have been his constant companions.

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

     Does he see any contradiction in his playing music from a rural, black culture?

     "I'm definitely not of the tradition of the blues," he responds, "but I'm in the 
     tradition of the blues. I sing other peoples' stories, but I put my own feeling and
     passion into it."

     That's a pretty sophisticated answer from a Eugene kid going into the 11th grade. 
     It's easy to see why people twice his age are lining up for lessons."