DAVID JACOBS-STRAIN "Liar's Day" Independent

David Jacobs-Strain has developed his own sound even as he takes cues from legends.
David Jacobs-Strain has developed his own sound even as he takes cues from legends. (By Tobin Poppenberg)
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Friday, August 29, 2008

DAVID JACOBS-STRAIN"Liar's Day"Independent

THOUGH IN HIS mid-20s, singer-songwriter David Jacobs-Strain sounds as if he's under the spell of old souls on "Liar's Day" -- and not just when he's saluting blues great Mississippi Fred McDowell with a galloping, slide guitar cover of "Write Me a Few Short Lines" or reconfiguring Robert Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues" with organ-streaked funk.

The original songs are also reminders of how Jacobs-Strain has absorbed country blues influences without sacrificing his own personality. His acoustic and electric guitar work is crisp and driven, and his voice can rise to a soulful pitch or fall quietly in sync with a loping beat. His imagery-rich tales -- well, it's not hard to imagine some of them being covered by the likes of John Hammond Jr., an apparent influence, or Boz Scaggs, with whom Jacobs-Strain is touring.

Lean and rooted as it is, "Liar's Day" hits some topical notes, beginning with the album's antiwar title track. A Southern blues-rock excursion ("Rainbow Junkies"), a guitar romp that connects the dots between Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix ("Say It to My Face") and an offbeat narrative ("Christmas in July") trigger other mood shifts that help make "Liar's Day" consistently entertaining.

-- Mike Joyce

Appearing Thursday with Boz Scaggs at the Birchmere (703-549-7500,http://www.birchmere.com). Show starts at 7:30 p.m.


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