David Jacobs-Strain & Bob Beach @ Chenango Craftsman — 15 Nov 2019

NOVEMBER 15, 2019 @ 7:30 PM
$10-$15 SUGGESTED DONATION (100% to the artists)

David Jacobs-Strain is a fierce slide guitar player and song poet, known both for his virtuosity and spirit of emotional abandon. Jacobs-Strain began playing on street corners and at farmers markets in his hometown of Eugene, Oregon, as a teenager, and bought his first steel guitar with the quarters he saved up. Before dropping out of Stanford to play full time, he had already appeared at festivals across the country, often billed as a blues prodigy, but he had to fight to avoid being a novelty act: “I wanted to tell new stories, it just wasn’t enough to relive the feelings in other people’s music.” Since then, Jacobs-Strain’s ability to capture emotional intensity in a deeply personal way has made him a mainstay at festivals such as Strawberry, MerleFest, the Vancouver Folk Festival, and Telluride Blues. His guitar work, both thundering and shimmering, has landed him onstage alongside Taj Mahal, Bob Weir, Los Lobos, Etta James, and Del McCoury. Boz Scaggs chose him to open for two different summer tours. At David Grisman‘s invitation Jacobs-Strain appeared alongside many of the nation’s great string players on the Tone Poets compilation.

Jacobs-Strain’s 2013 album, Geneseo, speaks of open roads, longing hearts and flashbacks of Oregon–a record of emotions big and small, and lyrics that turn quickly from literal to figurative.  “I’m fascinated by the way that rural blues inscribes movement and transience.  The music that frees a singer keeps them on the run; there’s a crossroads where a thing can be enchanting but dangerous; damaging but beautiful.”

Geneseo began as an experiment.  Camped out in a converted 1820s church, Jacobs-Strain recorded guitar and vocals on a laptop, rarely using more than one microphone.    “It was winter in rural upstate New York.  We had very little daylight but endless old instruments to try: a swap-meet banjo on one song,  on another, the Conn Electric Band–an orphaned keyboard from the 60s –which seemed to sound best only on Tuesdays.”  A road trip to Los Angeles brought in Scott Seiver (Pete Yorn, Flight of the Concords) on drums, and, after a chance meeting in a Hollywood bar, Jon Flaughers (Ryan Adams) on bass and David Immergluck (Counting Crows) on pedal steel.  “I had all the songs written but I didn’t have a budget or a plan.  I couldn’t stand waiting, so we just started recording ad hoc.”  Caitlin Carey of Whiskey Town sent harmonies and fiddle tracks by email, Band of Horses’ Bill Reynolds Dropboxed a track for the impressionist blues “Josephine,”  and long-time collaborator Bob Beach recorded harmonica solos in Philadelphia.  By spring, the record was an overwhelming collage of sounds and parts.  To pair the record back to its organic core, David enlisted two Oregon engineers, Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie) and Billy Barnett (Frank Black, Cherry Popping Daddies):  “Everything that would fit on twenty-three tracks was moved to analog tape, then we turned off the computer screen and mixed as if it was forty years ago.”

There’s an excitement about Geneseo that came from having the record funded by fans:  more than two hundred people pitched in on Kickstarter to pay for the mixing and promotion:  “This record is intentionally under the corporate music radar;  I’ve been making music on my own since I was a kid– it’s the only thing I’ve ever fooled anyone into paying me to do!  It feels very sweet to have people stand up and say that it means something to them.”

David Jacobs-Strain has appeared at festivals from British Columbia to Australia, including Newport Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Bumbershoot, and Blues to Bop in Switzerland.  He’s taught at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch, and at fifteen years old was on the faculty at Centrum’s Blues and Heritage workshop.  On the road, he’s shared the stage with Lucinda Williams, the Doobie Brothers, George Thorogood, Robert Earle Keen, Todd Snider, Janis Ian, Tommy Emmanuel, and T-Bone Burnett.

About the Chenango Craftsman Sessions

Chenango Craftsman Sessions are an occasional series of concerts and live recording events which take place at the home of Sarah Gerk and Andru Bemis in Binghamton, New York. Because of the intimate nature of the space, sessions are by invitation only. This can come from a performer’s newsletter or website, through our periodic email newsletter (sign up here), or from an acquaintance, family member, or other guest.

Recordings from the Chenango Craftsman Sessions are broadcast during the Audio Classics Local Music Hour on WBDY-LP 99.5 FM, Binghamton’s community radio station. The Local Music Hour airs weekdays at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., and weekends at 7 p.m.

100% of audience donations go directly to the artists. To ensure a seat for you at the performance, we encourage you to make your donation in advance. Guests without advance reservations may donate–cash or check–at the concert, and will be seated according to availability. Reasonably well-behaved kiddos and babies are always welcome.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Join us for potluck-style food, snacks, and drinks before the concert, if you wish. Don’t feel that you must bring something to be included; there’s enough for everybody. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. David and Bob will play til 9 p.m. or so. Feel free to stay and visit after the performance, and don’t be afraid to arrive late or leave early if your schedule requires it.

If you have questions or would like more information, contact Andru.