By Andy J. Gordon
Cris Jacobs brought his extremely likeable vocal and guitar-playing skills to The Mint in Los Angeles on June 5, 2019, as part of a tour through the United States, celebrating the release of his new album Color Where You Are. The crowd at The Mint enjoyed a set of hard-charging blues, soul, rock and Americana tunes, including several cuts from the new album.
Jacobs is the former leader of Baltimore-based band The Bridge and has collaborated with New Orleans’ native Ivan Neville on their Neville Jacobs project. He released his third solo album in April 2019 and is currently touring with his band that includes Todd Herrington (bass), Dusty Ray Simmons (drums/percussion) and Jonathan Sloane (guitar). The quartet co-produced the new album.
At The Mint, Jacobs introduced several of the new songs and added in a few from his second solo album, Dust to Gold, released in 2016. “Buffalo Girl” is one of the new tracks with an Americana sound and excellent slide guitar work from Jonathan Sloane. “Painted Roads” is a slow, bluesy tune that features more slide guitar.
For another new track, “Under the Big Top,” Jacobs used a cigar-box guitar that he plays from his lap, using finger picks and a slide. He kept the cigar box for “Turn into Gold” from 2016’s Dust to Gold. Jacobs delved into some countrified funk for the foot-stomping “Rooster Coop” and did a mean dueling guitar sequence with Sloane that delighted the crowd.
The pace slowed for a new ballad called “Afterglow,” which included another nice Jacobs’ guitar solo. He got things rocking hard again with “Shine Your Weary Light” from Dust to Gold. The band broke out their only cover of the night with Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” Jacobs made it his own by slowing it down and infusing the song with a heavy dose of blues. The show ended with two more blues-influenced rockin’ tunes, “Night Birds” from Color Where You Are and “Bone Digger” from Dust to Gold.
Jacobs is a real triple threat – an excellent songwriter, singer and guitarist. With his formidable quartet, he has put together a catalog of fine songs that sound great live. Be sure to catch this rising star as he tours the country. END