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September 19, 2017


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David Jacob-Strain
Ocean Or A Teardrop (Northern Blues Music)

By: Mark A. Lawrence IV

This kid has the soulful voice of a man twice his age saturated in blues that must be carryover from a past life as a delta blues man, feet warn raw walking to Chicago. With a haunting vocal style much like fellow contemporary artist Otis Taylor, but with a faster tempo that in David Jacob-Strain portrays more emotional frustration than Taylor's darker desperation. Strain is on his way to being one hell of a blues man.

Like a good whiskey drunk, this album leaves that burning sensation of love in your chest and with each song comes a new little kick. Musical highlights include the lightning speed picking and slide on "The Girl I Love" marking Strain as a masterful guitarist, to the thick bass groove foundation of "Sleepless Dream".

Listen careful enough you can hear a little bit of Taj Mahal's influence on "Take Your Chances" while Blind Willie Johnson's "Soul of A Man" is given a feel that mixes cotton fields juke blues with an old west mystique.

This truly is a top-notch album, demonstrating the growing momentum of an amazing blues man, who's an answer to the question of who will carry the blues torch once all the masters have passed. I have now doubt Strain is one who will carry on the mantel and will carry it well.

Rating: A

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