Singer/songwriter David W. Jacobsen is known for the quick wit and humor that often permeate his lyrics. Thus, it was probably only a matter of time before he trained his sardonic sensibilities on the often large gap between what people say and what they mean. His latest CD, “Not What I Meant,” is a collection of 14 new songs from the Jersey City acoustic musician that explore what gets lots in translation.
“I’ve always been fascinated by miscommunication, by the fact that two people can sometimes walk away from a conversation with two completely different assessments of what got said,” Jacobsen said. “This happens all the time. And clearly, these kinds of miscommunications can have all kinds of repercussions in out lives, sometimes humorous, sometimes not so humorous. I thought it would be interesting to explore the lighter side of miscommunication on this CD.”
‘I think there are still music fans who like storytelling.’ – David W. Jacobsen
Generally described as a “progressive folk musician,” Jacobsen said it’s his lyrics – and that notable humor of his – that help him attract audiences that might otherwise shun acoustic music.
“There isn’t much of a market for acoustic or folk music,” said Jacobsen. “Other than a few years in the mid-’60s, or a Jewell or a John Mayer, folk music isn’t really popular music. But I think there are still music fans who like storytelling. And that’s what I do in my songs. I’m basically telling stories. And there are a few people who seem to enjoy hearing that. Also, the internet has started to change some things, I think it’s harder to have a sound that’s ‘in.’ I wouldn’t say that folk is having a resurgence now. But there is such a variety of music on the internet means that there’s a receptive audience for the style of acoustic music that I play.”
Still, most of his audience is outside the New York-area and tend to be based in other parts of New Jersey.
“The advantage to living in New York City is there’s always something to see ever night of the week,” Jacobsen noted. “But that’s also the disadvantage to being in New York City, too. From the musicians’ standpoint, it’s harder to get bookings because club managers want to been acts who can attract a lot of friends to will come to the show. So, I don’t get a lot of bookings in the city. Unfortunately, Jersey City is so close to New York that those same rules sort of apply. Jersey City people who want to hear live music are more likely to go into the city to see a show, rather than stay local.”
The Lamp Post – where he release his last CD, “Walking Away from Wonderland” – is a notable exception.
“It’s kind of a low key place that has a really good vibe. They’ve been very good to me and I’ve been able to attract a little bit of an audience there,” Jacobsen said.
Say what you mean
For those who have seen Jacobsen’s act before who are familiar with his previous seven releases, he said “Not What I Meant” is a more balanced album than his last release.
“Sonically, this is probably one of my best recordings,” he said. “I think it has a little more variety in terms of the tone of the pieces. I put a lot of time into mixing. It has a great mix of funny songs with not-so-funny songs. It also has a lot more mandolin usage than my last album. I’ve been spending a lot of time with that instrument.”
Vocalist Chrissy Roberts lends her singing talents to four of the 14 songs on the new album, while Neil Fein and David Spatola added percussion.
He said the new album is less sparse and stripped down than “Walking Away from Wonderland.”
“It feels really good to be out there, playing, even if not all the audiences are huge,” Jacobsen said.
Jacobsen’s album release will take place on August 25 at the Lamp Post in downtown Jersey City, 382 Second St., at 7:30 p.m.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.