David Jacobs-Strain

Stuck on the Way Back

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David Jacobs-Strain might still be young, but he has a formidable arsenal at his command, with a guitar technique and power that's second to none and a voice that's decades older than his baby face. But once you get past the contrast between his appearance and the fire in his sound, it's apparent you're in the presence of a very talented bluesman, one of the best of a new generation. While he's a precise picker on acoustic, almost too clean at times, his slide work can be wonderfully dirty and his voice sounds as if he's spent several years eating gravel. The biggest surprise, though, is how accomplished he is as a writer, not just aping the form, but getting deep inside it on songs like "Cold Mountain Blues" and "River Was Green." He has a good ear for other songs, too, by Otis Taylor, R.L. Burnside, and a good selection of traditional tunes, including a storming version of "Poor Boy/Nobody's Fault but Mine" whose slide work shows the strong influence Blind Willie Johnson had on his playing. He's a talent who's moving on fast and maturing with scary speed. In a few years he's going to be a towering figure on the blues scene.

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