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  • Writer's pictureLuke Wolk

The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio Album Review

Artist: The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio Album: The Long Haul Released: 2023 Band Website: For Mike Jacoby, the song always comes first. With a love of music born in classic rock ‘n‘ roll, Jacoby’s writing is firmly rooted in the Americana and Alt-Country veins. He always brings a fresh and unique perspective into the heart of each song’s story, which ranges from insightful to silly, from harrowing to hilarious. They can make you reflect inward, and they can make you laugh – often at the same time. The 11 song set that makes up The Long Haul is a journey through classic rock and Americana. The overall sound reminds of late 70's rock that was influenced by The Kinks, The Beatles and The Stones. Bands like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers come to mind on the first listen. When songs are crafted as well as these are there isn't much more needed than 4 chords. In the blues and country world there is a saying "three chords and the truth"... in rock, it's four chords and a great hook, anything more would be unnecessary. This band has hooks to spare. A standout track is She's Funny That Way. It reminds me of the late 60's pop bands in composition. It has an old school soul with an undated approach to the production. It features a catchy hook and harmonies that would be right at home on a Traveling Wilburys album. My feeling is bands from that late 70's era were young people when The Beatles ruled the world, and it's those McCartney / Lennon hooks that influenced the next generation of songwriters to move the ball forward into the 70's and early 80's. They used technology to alter the sound, but what wasn't lost yet was great songwriting, and that wasn't lost on The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio either! Be Nice is a unique piece that would've been a great B- Side on a Cars hit from their first album. A hidden gem that would be on the flipside of a 45. This band is similar to The Cars in its ability to write timeless and infectious three minute pop songs. This one feels like the deep cut that the true fans would love. It's not the smash that everyone knows, but it is the one that people who know the catalog love. Perhaps a good example would be Racing In The Streets by Bruce Springsteen. It's not Born To Run, but the die-hards know it should've been. The first single from this fine album is Everybody I Know. It is a bouncy pop song that has Tom Petty and 70's Kinks fingerprints all over it. The Kinks are a band I often reference, specifically late 70's Kinks. They were moving away from the 60's You Really Got Me type of big riffy guitars and seamlessly transitioning into songs like Come Dancing, Celluloid Heroes and Better Things. It is this kind of rock music that was one of the first to really blur the genre lines in my opinion. It is memorable music that wasn't remotely hard edged, but also not easy listening in any way. It seems that is one of the main arteries that fed what is now called Americana. I don't mean to suggest it is the only artery, but it has to be included in the conversation. The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio comfortably resides in those blurry lines, writing memorable songs that are not over produced and more importantly never overplaying within the work. If you are a fan of songwriters that still want to rock, this record is a must hear. Bands like The Cars, The Greg Kihn Band, and Tom Petty all come to mind. There was a window of time in music when songwriting mattered, but they were still fun and catchy. There was a message in the lyrics if you wanted to hear it, but if you didn't pay attention to the message the song was still great. The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio captures that time perfectly. It's the kind of music that is played with big electric guitars but there is no electric guitar showboating. The band is pocketed and clearly committed to the songs. It reminds me of John Mellencamp's band in that sense. They can all very obviously play, but they choose to simply play the songs before they draw attention to themselves individually. The Long Haul is a great record that is a throwback to a much cooler time in music but doesn't feel like it is trying to do so. The band and songs feel natural, the way all great music sounds regardless of the genre. Check the record out. I promise you won't be disappointed! Band Members: Guitar and Vocals: Mike Jacoby Bass: Don Read Drums: Mike Levin Violin: Lisa Jackert Piano: Art Bailey Jr.

Check out the interview as well....

Tell us the brief history of your band or musical career.

After I released my third solo record “Long Beach Calling” in 2019, I wanted to put together a

band to play the songs live. I’ve played with bassist Don Read for years and it took us a little

while to find a drummer. We lucked upon the great Mike Levin – it was apparent from the first

time we got together that us three have a real musical connection. So I wanted them both on the

new album – it came together really nicely.

What album has had the greatest impact on your life as a musician?

Here are a few:

Beatles – “Revolver”

Rolling Stones – “Exile on Main Street”

Neil Young – “Harvest”

Bob Dylan – “Highway 61 Revisited”

Springsteen – “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

Clash – “London Calling”

Lucinda Williams – “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”

Drive By Truckers – “Decoration Day”

John Hiatt – “Bring the Family”

Todd Snider – “The Devil You Know”

Old 97s – “Fight Songs”….

Richard and Linda Thompson – “Shoot Out The Lights”

(really could go on forever with this…..too many to include)

Is there a particular song that has resonated with you for a long time?

A few examples come to mind:

Jason Isbell – “Elephant”

Lori McKenna – “Halfway Home”

Chris Stapleton – “Parachutes”

U2 – “One”

Warren Zevon – “Keep me in your heart”

(Again, this really could go on forever with this…..too many to include)

How does your latest album differ from any of your others in the past?

I brought in the trio to play with me on this album. Having a great drummer and great bassist

made a huge difference – the songs and the recording are more vibrant and alive.

How are you continuing to grow musically?

I’m striving to write better songs – universal songs that connect with people. Songs that resonate and are tied into all aspects of the human condition. Good times, bad times, happiness, sadness, joy, regret, sorrow….

Tell me what your first music teacher was like. What lessons did you learn from them that

you still use today?

My first guitar teacher was a man named Ted Paris (who sadly passed away about a year ago).

He saw immediately that I was completely bored with learning “the notes on the high E string –

the notes on the B string” and doing all those exercises in the Mel Bay guitar book. I was way

more interested in chords and how chords fit together to create songs. Really, I just wanted to

learn Beatles songs. So….he obliged. He realized that there was no one way of learning – and to

adapt to the student.

What strengths do you have that you believe make you the musician you are?

Hopefully, the ability to learn from mistakes. I feel I’m a better songwriter, performer,

engineer, producer than I was years ago…..because I can learn from mistakes.

Do you have any anxiety about performing live?

Not really. I’m pretty comfortable with performing….whether doing solo acoustic gigs or band


Describe your creative process when you write new music.

Usually, the chord pattern and melody pattern come out of jamming on the guitar – when I

realize that there’s a “song” there. After that, I come up with a title and lyrics. I spend a bit of

time thinking about what I’m trying to say in each particular song….and I consciously try to

think outside the box….to come up with a unique twist on a concept.

After that…it’s pages and pages of drafts….

And after that….I have to learn the damn thing! hahahaha

Give us some advice for new musicians just starting out in the industry.

Care about what you’re doing. Practice your art. Develop a level of confidence in your art where

what people say about it doesn’t matter. Appreciate those who support you.

How do you prepare for your performances and recording work?

I try to “know my song well before I start singing” – to quote Bob Dylan.

What do you like most about your new album?

This particular batch of songs are amongst my finest work. And working with Don and Mike

made each one of the songs special. I believe that there is “magic” in each of the songs. The

magic that transcends and enhances the performances.

What's next for your band?

We’re working on a 5 song EP of older Mike Jacoby songs which feature the band. I’m also

planning the next Mike Jacoby Electric Trio album. I have a few songs for that one already.

What are your interests outside of music?

I’ve been a distance runner for many, many years – I’ve run 3 marathons and countless half

marathons and 10ks. And I'm very slow …. I don’t win any awards but I find it very relaxing.

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