David Jacobs-Strain and Bob Beach
“David Jacobs-Strain and Bob Beach blew me away last summer at Swannanoa. As we say at home, they knocked my hat in the creek. I can’t envision the audience that could fail to take to them from the first chord and to the last. Hear them yourself as soon as you can.” — Tom Paxton
David Jacobs-Strain and Bob Beach sit side-by-side on the stage. A Pogreba guitar, built by the man who built the cannon Hunter S. Thompson was shot out of, sits loosely in David’s hands. Bob adjusts the distance to his 1940’s RCA microphone then leans over the box propped open at his side and grabs 2 harmonicas. They are calm. Poised. The crowd has no idea what they are in for next.
David Jacobs-Strain and Bob Beach are a multigenerational, bicoastal duo who have been performing together since 2010. They currently perform between 70 and 100 shows a year on both east and west coasts, delighting and bewildering roots music lovers.
David Jacob-Strain is a striking slide guitar player and song poet from Eugene, Oregon. His deep love of blues and roots music is evident in every one of the songs he writes. He studied masters like Robert Johnson, Taj Mahal and Jackson Browne, but plays his own sound, his own song, with a virtuosity that is uniquely his. David began playing on street corners and at farmers markets as a teenager, and bought his first steel guitar with the quarters he saved up. Before he dropped out of Stanford to play full time, he had already appeared at festivals across the country, often billed as a blues prodigy, but he had to fight to avoid being a novelty act: “I wanted to tell new stories, it just wasn’t enough to relive the feelings in other people’s music.” David Jacobs-Strain has appeared at Merlefest, Telluride Blues Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Hardly Strictly, Bumbershoot, and Blues to Bop in Switzerland. On the road, he’s shared the stage with Lucinda Williams, Boz Scaggs (more than 60 shows), Etta James, The Doobie Brothers, George Thorogood, Robert Earle Keen, Todd Snider, Taj Mahal, Janis Ian, Tommy Emmanuel, Bob Weir, T-Bone Burnett, and Del McCoury.
Bob Beach plays harmonica with calm fierceness. A mouth-harp maestro who swaggers into a solo like The Marlboro Man, then quietly leaves the set while the rest of us wonder what just happened and how such a tiny instrument could possibly sound like that. Bob has been a working professional musician for more than 40 years bringing harmonica, flute, and vocals to a broad scope of genres. A native Philadelphian, Bob relocated to Western PA after high school and worked in bands and musical projects from 1976 to 1997 while based in Pittsburgh. As a sideman, he has recorded or performed with acts such as; Ollabelle, Langhorne Slim, The Avett Brothers, Pat Wictor, Beaucoup Blue, Fruit and many more. Bob was also a sound engineer at The World Café Live music venue for 15 years. Bob Beach is a working musician who carved out his own career on his own terms, raised a daughter, stayed married 40 years, and is still playing for the love of it. The heart of it. The fun of it.
Together, David and Bob play unrestrained and from the heart. “Have you ever seen anything like this before?” Wait. Just wait until you see them live.