Accomplished local musician Charlie Jacobson is prepping for a string of local shows plus some other exciting appearances slated for later this month.
Jacobson, a very talented musician and songwriter, serves up tunes that span a number of genres from blues and funk to rock and R&B.
Through a hectic touring schedule and a number of recording opportunities and collaborations with other artists, he’s continuing to make a name for himself nation-wide via his own unique interpretation of a range of genres.
For one example, he tracked the guitar for the latest Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne album ‘live off the floor’ with the rest of the band. Jumpin’ and Boppin’ for Joy went to number one on American and Canadian Blues and Roots charts.
Meanwhile, Jacobson, whose latest disc, Travelin’ was released earlier this year, will be performing on the Ross St. Patio Aug. 23rd.
Beyond the local shows, he is also heading to the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival and the Edmonton International Blues Festival. It’s a first time performance for Jacobson at both of the aforementioned festivals; he has been featured at the Calgary Blues Festival a couple of times over the years.
“I’m doing a lot of preparation and rehearsing, and trying to get the word out there as much as possible,” he said during a recent chat. “I’m really looking forward to it all.”
At the Salmon Arm gig, Jacobson will also be hitting the stage with Wayne as well, and then also as a duo with Sherman Doucette.
“We’ll also be doing a few workshops.” Now, by workshops Jacobson isn’t referring to any type of dry lecture – he’s talking about some pretty electric jamming sessions where musicians hit the stage with other artists they may have never performed with before.
“We’ll be collaborating with other artists, performing and jamming on stage live in front of the audience, so that’s really exciting, too – it will be a lot of fun.”
As for his latest project, this year’s Travelin’, Jacobson said it was recorded quite quickly – in the space of two nights. It proved the ideal means of capturing the mood, energy and overall tone that he wanted the project to simmer with. “It’s good to strike when the iron is hot,” he explains with a chuckle.
“I had been traveling across Canada, and I was looking for an opportunity to get this record out. I had this collection of traveling songs that I had been putting together on the road, and I ended up on a train from Moncton to Halifax in one of the worst snow storms of the winter,” he recalls. “I ended up stuck in the train station in Halifax in the storm – there were no cabs or buses, and none of my friends could get out of their driveways to help me.
“I ended up sleeping in the train station there in Halifax. The next day was Valentine’s Day, and I went to go see Garrett Mason at Bearly’s House of Blues. But he ended up being sick, so I filled in for him that night and I ended up meeting Mike ‘Shrimp Daddy’ Reid who had just acquired a recording studio out near Halifax.”
Jacobson produced the CD – he also played all the instruments, did all the engineering and mixed and mastered it himself as well.
“The whole album was done in Nova Scotia,” he noted.
“I don’t think it’s a bad idea to take your time with a record and make sure everything is perfect, but with a blues record it’s not about perfection – it’s about feeling. I had a very strong feeling at this time, so we went hard on getting it done. This record – essentially each track was done in a full take, so there are no edited takes or re-done takes. I pretty much went ahead with one take on each instrument and went about it that way.”
Jacobson was exposed early to diverse styles as a child, attending folk festivals, rock shows, musical theatre, community classical, jazz and bluegrass concerts and sleeping above rehearsals of his parents’ rhythm and blues and folk bands.
With his guitar and suitcase drums always packed in the car, his nomadic lifestyle takes him to shows ranging from music festivals, house concerts, large blues clubs to community halls and theatres.
Fans might see him fronting the Charlie Jacobson Band or recreating that full sound on his own, playing his suitcase drums with his heels, ripping on the guitar, singing and dancing.
His success at such a young age isn’t surprising given the fact he comes from talented stock to be sure. His parents – Bruce Jacobson and Teresa Neuman – are both musicians as well.
He’s been performing onstage since he was four or five years old. Over the years as a youth, he studied piano and guitar – largely self-taught and taught by his parents as well. He also started taking fiddle lessons at age seven.
As to his ongoing love for blues in general, he said it largely boils down to the emotion that is intrinsic to the genre.
“It’s the feeling of it – it really connects with people, and it’s the ‘people’s’ music.”