The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio – The Long Haul
This trio has played together since 2019. Their music is basically a rollicking rock n’ roll hybrid but it’s indeed done with finesse & expertise. Some song titles are fairly cliched (“Right Off the Bat”) & juvenile (“Be Nice” beautiful harmonica, a melody as cute as The Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye”).
But the tunes are like something you already know when you taste it. But then it’s a rediscovery. It tastes really good. It’s orange juice music but no, this batch is Orange Julius (with all those secret ingredients that make the tongue snap with glee). Yeah, it’s got lots of pop (“Everybody I Know”) but it’s done with that 60s Top 25 pop-rocks burst.
The music has a simplicity to it but it’s how the band applies that aquamarine clarity that makes the ears perk up. “The Calm Before the Storm,” is cliché – but it’s clever, it’s melodic & played with not a blemish in sight. It has a latter-career Kinks drive & a little anatomy of The Knack & Boomtown Rats. It’s all to be savored because these guys play feisty at times.
“A Better Man,” is closer to The Kinks with a 60s rock n’ roll riff a little vocal effect like singing in a paint can – but it works. They’ve taken an old style & polished it like a ’57 baby blue Bel Air. Now, the band doesn’t sound like a 50s band but a 60s one. The car is more of an endurance comparison.
They know what they’re doing & they do it with a youthful passion. The self-produced 11-cuts by Mike on The Long Haul (Drops Aug 18–Independent) explore different ideas that together work as a unit. There are toxic family relationships, fractured love, some insight, some optimism, a visit with a death row inmate & heartbreak tunes. But the gentle piano runs, stirring guitar mixes & unified vocal power (“She’s Funny That Way”) all work confidently.
At times they pick musical lint off a band like the classic Del-Lords, though the Mike Jacoby Electric Trio has a more acute sense of humor that doesn’t come off as comedy but texturing. That alone puts the group in a class of their own. They feature on individual songs a harmonica, an acoustic guitar, a violin, piano – each having their “moment” in the spotlight.
They take a single word song “Bend,” & “Maybe Just Maybe,” to create an infectious tour de force pop songs. Nothing heavy, nothing serious, just delicious.
Highlights – “The Calm Before the Storm,” “A Better Man,” “She’s Funny That Way,” “Bend,” “Be Nice,” “If I Don’t Fry,” (good piano), “Maybe Just Maybe” & “The Long Haul.”
Musicians – Mike Jacoby (vocals/guitars/other stuff), Mike Levin (drums), Don Read (bass) with Lisa Jackert (violin/bgv) & Art Bailey, Jr (piano).
Color image courtesy of the band’s website. The 39-minute CD @ https://mikejacobymusic.com/home