Daniel Jacobs
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Daniel Jacobs

Band Folk Adult Contemporary


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Daniel Jacobs @ The Wolf's Lair

Dobson, North Carolina, USA

Dobson, North Carolina, USA

Daniel Jacobs @ The Flip Side

Clayton, North Carolina, USA

Clayton, North Carolina, USA

Daniel Jacobs @ The Cave

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

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Singer-songwriter Daniel Jacobs is hoping his trip to Virginia this month is as inspiring as his visit last spring. Playing in the area and staying with a painter friend on a horse farm in Upperville, Va., Mr. Jacobs, who hails from Boston, had some close encounters of the equestrian kind. The result: "Stallion Shadows," a powerful guitar instrumental piece that Mr. Jacobs recorded on his latest demo disc, a follow-up to his disc, "Our World Now," which he released earlier this year. Listeners in the Washington area can hear him perform it live at Magpie's in Middleburg on Nov. 8, Friday at 9 p.m., or at St. Elmo's Coffee Pub in Alexandria on Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. Mr. Jacobs is one of those artists who defies a label. One minute, he's playing a folky, lyrical ballad about fishing or leading a singalong; the next he's deep into a jazzy open-tuning groove. It was the latter talent, honed after studying jazz guitar at New York University and classical guitar in Brazil, that brought him to participate recently in the Mova Arts Festival in Lake Guntersville, Ala., near Huntsville, in the instrumental jazz and new age category. The competition came from across the United States and around the world. His song, "Another Piece of the Sky" from "Our World Now," took third place, but more important, according to Mr. Jacobs, is that his playing impressed some Alabama listeners who booked him in an area bar later in the week. Listeners there invited him to be the opening act for a new music series they're organizing. "It's amazing how these things work," he says. Mr. Jacobs has been making it work on the folk circuit, playing about 150 dates a year from New England to Texas and all points in between. He recently split a bill at the Point in Philadelphia with singer-songwriter Charlie Strater, but he says he's truly looking forward to his dates in the Old Dominion, where he has bookings in Charlottesville clubs in addition to his Washington-area concerts. Among his favorite venues is St. Elmo's in Alexandria, where the proprietor is "so supportive." "You meet people like that, and you just hope you make it big one day so you can come back and play for them, to thank them," he says.
- Jay Votel

- The Washington Times

Boston-based Daniel Jacobs passed through Washington recently on his way south to mingle with other singer-songwriters in the Texas heat at the annual Kerrville Folk Festival. His self-produced CD, a mix of studio cuts and live takes - and no overdubs - places Mr. Jacobs squarely under the big tent of folk music and in the jazz aisle. His lyrics are free-form poems dealing with friendship, love and the unity of mankind - unabashedly folk. The title track, a live sing-along,speaks of a time when "there are no holy wars." Mr. Jacobs' open-tuning instrumentals, though, betray his education on jazz and classical guitar at New York University and in Brazil, and at Mannes College of Music in New York. He also studied tabla and sitar in India, which accounts for some of the rhythmic grooves he sustains while exploring his free-form lyrics. One unusual piece is a live improvisation on a theme from Emily Dickinson, "I'm Nobody." Few performers have the nerve to riff off a classical American poet. Fewer still - and count Mr. Jacobs among them - can pull it off.
- J.V.

Back to the - Washington Times

The winds of winter have been frigid this past month but we have weathered it well here on Salon Sundays. We opened the month (and the year) with Michael Troy and ended the month with Daniel Jacobs. Both of these men have the gift of keeping you grounded while freeing your spirit to soar. Daniel's fingers dance on the strings of his guitar delighting the child in us. And we are sure that this would be enough, to sit and drink in the purity of tones following the beautiful rhythms wherever they may choose to go, then he adds his voice that I swear could tame the wildest beast, and lyrics so simple, so profound and so beautifully ordered and you realize you can't get enough. You can't ever quite get enough, which perhaps explains why the day before our concert they kept him playing for three hours without a break in Acton at the Continental Cafe. I miss him already and can't wait for his return. He is playing in Fall River at the Narrows Center for the Arts on 2/27, in Lowell at Capo's on 2/28, and tomorrow night and in Acton at the Continental Cafe on 3/1.
- MF Daisy

- Salon Sunday Newsletter

Be warned, musical square pegs of the world. Daniel Jacobs has a round hole for you.

The singer/songwriter's career is a symphony of contradictions. He writes music for himself but lives for making connections with his audiences. He refused to study music originally and later traveled the world learning about guitar techniques. He set out to create an original sound, yet chose folk music -- one of the most stereotyped genres in American music -- as his foundation.

It's like a jigsaw puzzle crammed together with no concern about the resulting picture. But it's all part of Jacobs' master plan.

"My idea was to create a sound and music that was original," Jacobs said. "I wanted music to be my art form. I was very conscious of making something that was informed by a lot of different kinds of music but was not really any of them."

Jacobs began his blend of music and poetry in his late teens. By his early 20s, he decided to start taking jazz guitar lessons. He's studied jazz guitar at New York University, classical guitar in Brazil and at the Mannes College of Music in New York City, sitar and tabla in India, Balinese gamelan in Bali and bossa-nova in Brazil.

Jacobs expects his audience will hear that smorgasbord of influences at his show Saturday at the Artists' Corner in Jacksonville Beach. His goal is that they hear his stamp on it all.

"Duke Ellington said after he went to Africa, his music was influenced by the trip," Jacobs said. "It wasn't an influence in that he actually used what we would consider the traditional elements of African music. The elements went into him as a human being and came out in his music, in a way that he didn't filter. It was just the way [those elements] evolved within him. That's been my life focus actually, as an artist."

Regardless of Jacobs' artistic intents, he understands that most listeners have certain expectations when they see him. To many, coffee house solo performer plus acoustic guitar equals Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Grateful Dead covers. But he sees it as a chance to convert the crowds into fans. That optimism pervades his music as well.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette writer Scott McLennan called Jacobs' songs "by and large, hopeful slices of optimism. His poetic writing style is full of vivid imagery, particularly on the global bent of the [Our World Now] CD's title track, a song that celebrates a new generation of leadership coming up in the world."

While other musicians would dread a silent audience, Jacobs counts those moments among his best on stage. He looks to connect with audiences and inspire their imaginations. He has no set journey in mind but has had several fans thank him for the mind trips his music stimulates.

"For me, music can be a very healing art form," Jacobs said. "A lot of people have come up to me and said, 'You know, I really need that and I love the positive messages of your music. It really helps me.' That's a really big thing for me, that my music seems to be something that helps heal people."

While on the road, Jacobs spends his time working on new material and devouring poetry collections at bookstores. As part of this nine-month tour, he'll also record an all-instrumental CD.

Beyond that, he'll continue his tours and writing. He also writes songs for other musicians in the Boston music scene and would like to do movie scores, if an opportunity comes along. Until then, he'll continue his career on his terms, building relationships with his audiences.

"All of the people who are there are inside the music with me," he said. "The more people who are in that space with me, the bigger the experience becomes and the less of me. I'm completely and totally involved in it, but I don't feel it's a 'me' thing when I'm playing. It's more of an 'us' thing. It's a very spiritual experience for me to perform music for people."
- Mark Faulkner

- Shorelines Correspondent

In a world that likes to compartmentalize and label, singer/songwriter Daniel Jacobs poses a problem. To some, Jacobs may sound like a jazzy folk stylist. To others, he may seem like a folksy jazz player. The musician knows he confounds the labelers out there, and relayed a story about sending his promo kit to Festival Productions, a company that stages many music events around the world, including the legendary jazz and folk festivals held annually in Newport, R.I.

"The people who work with the jazz musicians said, 'Give this to the folk person.' The folk person said, "Why are you giving me a jazz record?" Jacobs recalled.

On his new compact disc, "Our World Now," Jacobs didn't make any concessions to those demanding that music fit neatly into prescribed categories. Even though the disc is a pure solo outing consisting of just voice and guitar, ``Our World Now'' is brimming with ideas from a variety of musical sources.

"I've always wanted to create art that was original but informed," he said. "The first five years that I wrote music, I didn't study music. Then I studied jazz guitar, then classical theory, then classical guitar. I don't want to play those styles of music. I want to take those ideas and let them run through me."

The 38-year-old Jacobs furthered his musical education by studying his craft in Brazil, Bali and India as well as in New York City. Now based in Weston, Jacobs is well-traveled around the country and played more than 150 gigs last year. Jacobs will celebrate the release of "Our World Now" with a show Saturday at Nancy Chang restaurant, 372 Chandler St., Worcester. While Nancy Chang's is not normally the site of a CD launch, the restaurant's manager, Gabe Sandoli, is a fan of Jacob's music and put together an event for the artist in Worcester.

The "Our World Now" release party at Nancy Chang's will begin with a reception for the artist running from 9 to 9:30 p.m. The concert will follow and include performances from a few guest musicians as well as two sets from Jacobs. Reservations for the show can be made by calling (508) 752-8899.

Those who can't make it to the show can find Jacobs' music online at cdbaby.com.

"Our World Now" comes after a couple of CDs that Jacobs made with bands backing him. But playing solo is more in line with what he typically does, both at home practicing and out on the road.

The solo route serves Jacobs just fine. His fiery guitar playing provides ample accompaniment to his richly layered lyrics (two instrumentals on the CD also let the eloquence of his playing shine in its own regard).

Jacob's songs are, by and large, hopeful slices of optimism. His poetic writing style is full of vivid imagery, particularly on the global bent of the CD's title track, a song that celebrates a new generation of leadership coming up in the world.

"I put my songs together in a way that allows you to stay in a certain space and relax a bit,v he said.

Jacobs worked up a variety of moods for his new CD. He has the chipper "Friend for Life," the dour "Ballad of a Broken Family" and the wistful "I'm Nobody," which is a concert recording of an improvisation built around an Emily Dickinson poem.

Jacobs comes across as a musician who likes to play with many different ideas and not be beholden to any one set of rules. While that could be a recipe for an unfocused project, Jacobs makes the approach work.

"I think people are open to new ideas and new music," he said. "I like to have things they can grab onto."
- Scott McLennan

- Songs Out of the Box

"Daniel Jacobs traveled around the world and ended up at home again. A Massachusetts native, Jacobs studied jazz guitar at NYU, classical guitar at the Mannes College of Music, sitar and tabla while living in India, Balinese gamelon in Bali, and bossa nova in Brazil. He has culled from these wide-ranging influences to develop a style of guitar playing that reflects all of these styles but cannot be classified as any of them.

'I always wanted to make music that was original but informed', says Jacobs, who has just released his first full-length album, 'Echoes of My Footsteps', the follow-up to an EP entitled 'I Like My Life' which was recorded last year. 'But when I'm writing,' he adds, 'most of the influence of my experiences is unconscious. You wouldn't say that Our Love, [a song on the new album] is a bossa nova tune, but it definitely has that influence.' Jacobs is driven by a personal quest for life's experience. He relentlessly pursues his passions without ever losing sight of the simple pleasures of every day, and this zeal is the backbone of both his music and his lyrics. As much a poet as a musician, Jacobs is extremely conscious not only of the words he chooses, but also of the way in which they are structured to flow with each other and the music. 'Words are a funny thing. They're what we use to communicate, but they're also abstract. The writer walks the line between communication and nonsense,' says Jacobs. 'I feel that poetry, by definition, contains music. Words do not exist outside the elements of music. Even when we read silently, we hear the words. The poet juxtaposes imagery employing musical elements. Composers internalize the poetry of the moment as music . Beethoven said that the composer cannot recreate nature or life, but must affect, in the audience, the feelings caused by nature and life, ' he says. 'A songwriter works as poet and composer simultaneously and separately.'

The way in which Jacobs' lyrics and music complement each other is one of his greatest strengths. In the songwriting process, though, that synthesis can be anywhere from revelatory to painstaking. 'Sometimes both music and words explode out of me together, and sometimes they take time to find themselves and are culled from a variety of experiences over a long period of time,' he says. 'If I force words and music together because I want to finish a song, it never works. I have to wait. I do a lot of waiting.'

'Echoes of My Footsteps' also required a good deal of waiting, but patience has paid off. He recently finished a residency at Mocha Java in Hyde Park, and he has been playing gigs all over the northeast in the past few months. He is an artist who is feeling the flow, and says he is already itching to record his next album, this one possibly solo rather than with the band that backed him on Footsteps. 'The album is an overview of where I've come from musically,' he explains, 'but the stuff I'm writing now is more in a style,' This bodes well for a musician who has already displayed a great talent for assimilating genres and creating a unique sound."
- Dan Pashman

- The Weekly Dig


Currently mixing "Notes from the Road"
"Six Strings"
"Our World Now"
"Echoes of my Footsteps"
"I Like My Life"


Feeling a bit camera shy


Sky, from The Alamagordo House Concert Series in New Mexico calls Daniel "a gem you want to keep all to yourself and scream out to the world at the same time." He captivates you with stories and carries you away in songs and instrumentals.

Currently Daniel is touring the United States, connecting with people from all walks of life, exploring some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, writing and performing. Travel is not new to him. He hitchhiked across the United States as a teenager and has traversed the globe for more than two decades with his guitar, seeking out the people, places and experiences that populate his music.

Daniel has lived with families of musical gurus in Brazil, where he studied classical guitar and Bossa Nova, and India where he studied sitar and tabla. Sharing everyday life with master musicians of these countries connected him with their cultures as well as their music. During a term abroad in Ecuador and Peru, studying sociology, Daniel became acquainted with the techniques and sonorities of Andean folk music. Gamelon lessons in Bali taught him principles of Indonesian music. Two years of African dance and music classes in Oregon and California acquainted him with Ghanaian rhythms and melodies. Two and a half years of Jazz guitar lessons at NYU and two and a half years in the classical guitar program at the Mannes Conservatory of Music grounded him in western music; however, it is his constant touring as a singer/songwriter/instrumentalist and his exposure to tremendous musicians immersed in American folk traditions that define Jacobs as a performer.

Daniel studied poetry and wrote original songs for years prior to immersing himself in traditional music education programs. In New York City, he taught English as a second language at an international school for six years. Daniel Jacobs is a storyteller, an entertainer, an instrumentalist, and a singer of songs that are at once personal and universal.