Tag Archives: Cris Jacobs Band

Preview: Hot August Music Festival 2018

Words & Photos: Tim Newby & Stephen Varanko

The Hot August Music Festival returns for on August 18, 2018, to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Maryland with a lineup that runs the full musical gamut roots to blues to funk to reggae to rock ‘n’ roll and is headlined by The Revivalists and Trampled by Turtles.

Continue reading Preview: Hot August Music Festival 2018

Hot August Music Festival announces lineup


One of the premiere festivals in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Hot August Music Festival, will return to the picturesque setting of Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Maryland (minutes from downtown Baltimore) August 18, 2018.  Entering its twenty-sixth year the Hot August Music Festival has again assembled a lineup this year that reflects the overriding principle that festival founder and promoter, Brad Selko, has adhered to over the history of the festival, “To provide a different variety of American Roots music each year.  Blues, bluegrass, rock, funk, jam, whatever.”  This year’s line-up does just that with a diverse roster of twelve bands who represent all facets of American Roots Music.  This year’s lineup is topped by The Revivalists and features Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Marcus King Band, Cris Jacobs Band, Psycho Killers, Whiskey Shivers, Dirty Grass Players, Niki Hall, Selwyn Birchwood, Hall Williams Band, and Omari Banks.  Also featuring another special guest headliner TBA April 1. Continue reading Hot August Music Festival announces lineup

Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival on Marvin’s Mountaintop (Sept 15-18)

Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival
Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, WV
September 15 – 18, 2016

Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival is proud to announce the daily performance schedule for its inaugural music and arts festival on September 15-18, 2016. Top-tier bluegrass, jam band, rock and country acts will convene on the legendary Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, WV, the original site for the All Good Festival. Performing on Thursday, September 15th, is jam band pioneer Melvin Seals and the JGB and more. On Friday, September 16th the dynamic and genre-defying Greensky Bluegrass performs, along with outlaw country music and southern rocker Shooter Jennings with Waymore’s Outlaws; Love and Theft; Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives; Cabinet and more. On Saturday, September 17th, slam grass virtuosos Leftover Salmon are joined by grassroots phenomenon Blackberry Smoke; The David Grisman Sextet; Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder; Rising Appalachia and more. Sunday, September 18th, features country music favorites Jamey Johnson; Corey Smith; The Marcus King Band and more. A full daily schedule can be found on the Deep Roots Mountain Revival website at www.mountainrevival.com.

Deep Roots offers a full schedule of community-building, family-friendly activities and events. Kids and their guardians are encouraged to visit the Family Activity Zone featuring scheduled events including yoga, hula hooping, instrument making, a t-shirt tie dye station, art and nature encounters. On Saturday, September 17th, shuttles will be available from the festival grounds to the Hovatter’s Zoo. Adults are also encouraged to play like kids with daily yoga sessions, paintball, a cornhole tournament, nature hikes and mountain bike tours. A schedule of activities can be found by visiting www.mountainrevival.com/kids-activities/.

The festival will donate $3 from all purchases of 3-day passes to the United Way of Southern West Virginia to support flood relief efforts. The recent flooding left many West Virginia communities in dire need of help. Deep Roots Mountain Revival in partnership with the United Way of Southern WV is committed to long term flood recovery. General Admission Tier One tickets are currently available for $150 for 3-day passes and $180 for Thursday early arrival tickets. On August 1st, GA tickets increase to Tier 2 prices, $165 and $195 respectively. VIP tickets are available for $570 per person. All VIP ticket packages include early entry; catered meals; access to premiere viewing areas at all stages with beer and wine; access to private bathrooms and showers; VIP camping sites; VIP lounge access; discounts on festival grounds beer; and a stainless steel souvenir mug. Tickets can be purchased at www.mountainrevival.com/tickets.

For more information on the Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival, visitwww.mountainrevival.com.

TICKETS: Tier 1 General Admission 3-Day $150 (on sale now) // GA + Thursday Early Arrival $180 (on sale now) // VIP $570 (on sale now) // Tier 2 General Admission 3-Day $150 (on sale starting August 1) // GA + Thursday Early Arrival $180 (on sale starting August 1)
PURCHASE TICKETS: www.mountainrevival.com/tickets
FESTIVAL WEBSITE: http://www.mountainrevival.com

The United Way of Southern WV is committed to long term flood recovery, along with The United Way of Greenbrier Valley and The United Way of Central WV. 100% of proceeds donated to the flood relief effort will be used to help our communities repair their infrastructure, to return to normal life as quickly as possible, as well as provide long-term support to the region. Our sincere thanks to Deep Roots Mountain Revival for their generosity, their confidence, and their trust in our organizations. We promise to combine your gift with others to deliver long-term solutions for southern West Virginia’s people in need. Thank you for investing in Southern West Virginia! More information can be found here www.mountainrevival.com/partners/united-way-flood-relief-campaign/ Continue reading Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival on Marvin’s Mountaintop (Sept 15-18)

Cris Jacobs & the Band of Johns fires up the hometown

Cris Jacobs & the Band of Johns


Baltimore, MD

February 2, 2013



Since The Bridge called it quits just over a year ago, singer-guitarist Cris Jacobs has shown no signs of slowing down as he is a man constantly on the move exploring as much musical ground as he can cover, whether with his new project The Cris Jacobs Band (who released their debut album last year), as part of his long-time bluegrass band Smooth Kentucky, in the various guest spots and sit-ins he appears in with everyone from Anders Osborne to Los Lobos, or in his recent recording session with New Orleans legend Ivan Neville. On a night when his hometown of Baltimore was teeming with excitement in anticipation of the Ravens appearance in the Super Bowl the following day, Jacobs debuted his latest endeavor, The Band of Johns, at his home away from home, The 8×10.

Comprised of keyboardist John Ginty (John Ginty Band, Santana, Robert Randolph & the Family Band),drummer John Thomakos (John Mooney, Vanessa Carlton), and bassist Jake Leckie (Cris Jacobs Band) the quartet played together for the first time ever on this evening. With the city already _MG_5284brimming with energy and enthusiasm for the Ravens upcoming Super Bowl appearance, Jacobs show at the 8×10 took on the air of an almost surreal pep-rally at times, with many in the crowd decked out in purple or Ravens jerseys, including both Jacobs in a Ray Lewis jersey and Thomakos in an Ed Reed jersey. Jacobs made numerous references throughout the night to the game, and the inclusion of a couple ofr New Orleans themed covers in “Down South of New Orleans” and “Going Down to New Orleans” only served as another sly reference to the next day’s big game down in the Big Easy. But the most obvious Super Bowl reference came as the band was deep in the midst of a particularly adventurous journey through Jacobs’ old band The Bridge’s long-time live staple “Bad Locomotive.” As the song evolved into a dark swirling jam, the unmistakable driving bass and drum rhythm of the White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” began to show, slowly poking its face out from underneath the familiar chords of “Bad Locomotive.” The song has become the unofficial song/ chant of the Baltimore Ravens and their faithful during this past season, with the acapella chanting of its relentlessly, driving melody _MG_5312becoming omnipresent at Ravens games and seemingly every Super Bowl broadcast from New Orleans. This simple jam evoked the same response from the fans packed into the 8×10 who responded with a stadium worthy rendition of the chant, before the band broke it off and led back into “Bad Locomotive.”


But this night was not all about the Ravens and the upcoming Super Bowl, though that was definitely a big part of it. The evenings setlist drew heavily from Jacobs large repertoire of material, using the new material that Jacobs has written recently for The Cris Jacobs Band (including “Dragonfly,” “Devil or Jesse James,” and “Stoned on you”), a smattering of old Bridge songs (“Heavy Water,”, “Honeybee,” and “Devil on Me” among others), and a few tasty covers (the aforementioned New Orleans tunes and “You Can Stay but the Noise Must Go”) _MG_5313thrown in for good measure. This highly experienced band made this wide range music all their own. Jacobs’ soulful wail echoes the southern-fried, gravely, timbre of Lowell George, and the addition of the masterful touch of Ginty and the hard-driving, precise drumming of Thomakos seemed to give his voice that much more power on the evening (or maybe it was just the excitement for the Ravens). For many in the crowd in the crowd there was an extreme familiarity with many of Jacobs’ songs, but with addition of such seasoned skillful players as Ginty and Thomakos the music found new and interesting musical paths down which to wind.


Still the overriding theme for the show on this chilly night in Baltimore was the energy that came with the anticipation of The Ravens appearance in the Super Bowl the next day, and the night would appropriately end on that note. After wrapping up their set with a spirited take on The Bridge’s “Colorado Motel,” the crowd began shouting their approval and even more boisterous version of the “Seven Nation Army” chant erupted from the crowd as they waited for the band to retake the stage. The band quickly retook the stage. Leckie and Thomakos began to play along with the crowd, churning out the hard-hitting, pulsating rhythm of “Seven Nation Army,” only this time instead a brief tease, Jacobs and Ginty picked up the rhythm and launched into a full-on version of the song that burned with a ferocity that would make the hometown team’s long revered defense proud, and as everyone in the crowd gave their full-throated best to make their chant heard, all eyes turned towards New Orleans and next day’s Super Bowl._MG_5356




Author’s note – The Ravens would go on to win the Super Bowl the next day, the “Seven Nation Army” chant could be heard constantly throughout the game, Baltimore rejoiced, and for just one small moment there was peace in the world.


To see all of Jordan August ‘s photos from Jacobs’ surreal pep-rally please visit here.

Hot August Blues 2012: Humble Beginnings to Blues-Party Throw Down


From its humble beginnings twenty years ago as an event held in founder Brad Selko’s backyard, Hot August Blues has grown from a two band (Charlie Musselwhite and Brett Wilson), 300 person event, to an annual ten band, 5000 person festival that has been recognized as one of the best midsized Festivals in the country (Tri-State Indie Award for Best Regional Festival 2011.)  Held at idyllic Oregon Ridge Park just outside the Baltimore City limits, Hot August Blues has separated itself from other festivals its size and in the area with its relaxed low-key atmosphere and consistently stellar line-ups that favors quality over quantity, with a schedule that features minimal over-lap between the two stages, and set lengths that give every band from the opener to the closer ample time to get up and stretch out their musical legs.



As in years past the line-up was a diverse mix that was tied together through the loose thread of “the blues”, but that thread and label were stretched thin into imaginable directions with a line-up that boasted the classic blues-riff-rock of Govt Mule, the bombastic explosion of New Orleans funk of Trombone Shorty, to the heartfelt country-folk tunes of Justin Townes Earle on the main stage, and included the gritty real Chicago Blues of Magic Slim & the Teardrops and the soul-revival sound of JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound on the B-side stage.   The B-Side stage is still a fairly new weapon in the Hot August Blues arsenal, only being added for the first time two years ago, but it is an extremely welcome addition. This year it was dominated in the early afternoon by intensely powerful singer/songwriter Chris Kasper.  Kasper gave way to Chicago’s JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound who have been garnering much attention for their mind-bending cover of Wilco’s “I am Trying to Break Your Heart,” which has even gotten the attention of the song’s author Jeff Tweedy who invited them to appear at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival this year.  Magic Slim closed out the B-Side stage with a classic set of Chicago blues, that found Slim wailing through his set like a bluesman of old.   While Magic Slim keep the blues alive with their true to its root sound, on the main stage that blues thread was stretched on all directions with a line-up that was an intoxicating mix that careened from style to style.  The biggest departure from that blues thread was the second act to hit the main stage, Locos Por Juana.


 Billed as a bilingual jam-band, Locos Por Juana was born in 2000 in Miami Florida with roots that dig deep into Colombia (singer Itagui Correa and drummer Javier Delgado were both born in Colombia, while guitarist Mark Kondrat was born in Miami of Colombian descent.)  The band has been nominated multiple times for Grammy Awards, but still is generally off of the average music fans radar.  But if their set at Hot August Blues was any indication of the power of this band, it might be a good idea to stand up and take notice of them.  Led by dynamic vocalist Correa, who is an explosion of energy and swirling dreads that reach down almost to the ground.  Locos Por Juana sound is built around Latin rhythms, but there is a steady current of Caribbean flavor flowing underneath with a smattering of reggae riffs, dancehalls grooves, hip-hop beats, and rock-laden guitar work all bubbling to the surface at some point.   The core trio is usually augmented by additional musicians with some kind of combination of percussion and horns rounding out the deep, bouncing groove, and today was no different as they had a trombone and full percussion kit to provide a little more kick.  Their set is a high-energy ass-shaking party, and it was clear from the way crowd responded that the band’s request to “get up and move” did not go unheeded.


  Despite the Blues label, the real focus seemed to be on songwriting, with three of today’s best songwriters, in Cris Jacobs, Justin Townes Earle, and Warren Haynes, gracing the main stage throughout the day.  The day got started with the Cris Jacobs Band and a passionate set that dripped with a soulful intensity.   After ten years fronting roots-rockers The Bridge, who called it quits at the end of 2011, Jacobs has re-emerged with a new band with which to give life to his always timeless songwriting that seems to ring out with a deep, emotional, clarity.  Jacobs set was a bluesy mix, with him leading the charge with a guitar work out that recalled the southern-fried goodness of Little Feat’s Lowell George.  His band features the familiar drumming of Mike Gambone who provided the backbeat for the Bridge, the steady upright bass of Jake Leckie, the dreamy-textured pedal steel of Dave Hadley, and longtime musical co-conspirator, multi-instrumentalist Ed Hough who provides soaring harmonies to Jacobs’ soulful wail.  Their set pulled heavily from the band’s debut album, the sublime Songs for Cats and Dogs released earlier this year featuring “Dragonfly”, “Stoned on You,” “Be My Stars,” and “Saddle Up,” among others.  Locos Por Juana followed next, before giving way to Justin Townes Earle.



                Justin Townes Earle might just be the best young songwriter around right now, and with his set he made a strong case for just that title.  Starting as he says he always does, “alone”, Earle began his set with a couple of tunes by himself, “Lay That Hammer Down,” and “Wandering,” the latter of which took him a couple of false starts to get through before he finally remembered the lyrics, but this would prove to be the last hiccup Earle would have in what would prove to be a glorious set.   He related the stories behind each song throughout the afternoon, giving life to each tune  as he weaved the narratives that told of the birth of each song, explaining how it took six months for him to realize Brooklyn was not for him in, “One More Night in Brooklyn,” that a then girlfriend, not named Maria wanted to know, “who the ‘F’ is Maria,” before he launched into the song of the same name, that “Roger’s Park” came about from simply not having written a song in over a year, or warning a an ex-girlfriend who wanted a song about who to watch what she wished for as he used their break-up as fodder for “Nothing’s Gonna Change the you Feel About Me.”



                Sandwiched in between Earle and the Fest closing set of Govt Mule, and hitting the stage as the sun began to set over the tall trees that flanked the large hill that served as a natural amphitheater ofr the day, was New Orleans’ Trombone Shorty.  Trombone Shorty’s set was an explosive affair, full of his trademarked boundless energy that found him pin-balling around the stage, dancing, singing, switching between trumpet and trombone, and leading his band through a set that was a non-stop blur of high octane funk.   This provided a nice contrast to Justin Townes Earle’s stellar set, which was a subtle, musical gem, as Trombone Shorty’s time on stage was a pure N’alwns throw down, giving every one license to cut loose and shake their ‘thang.’






  The day closed with a headlining set from Govt Mule and a dose of Warren Haynes’ classic bluesy-southern rock songwriting.  Govt Mule’s set featured the least surprising sit-in of the day since Warren Haynes sauntered on stage an hour before during Trombone Shorty’s set for a run of songs (really who didn’t see that coming?), as Trombone Shorty and longtime Haynes friend, collaborator, and Washington D.C. resident Ron Holloway (who shows up anytime Haynes is within a 100 miles of the Nation’s Capital) broke out his sax and joined the stage for a mid-set combo of The Box-tops “The Letter” and  Albert King’s “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home.”  In addition to these covers, as is their norm, Govt Mule pulled heavily from their influences with the Beatles “She Said, She Said,” Led Zeppelins “How Many More Times,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House,” all showing up throughout the night.   It was a bit of a nostalgic set for The Mule as it was colored by older classic Mule tunes, “Blind Man in the Dark,” “Bad Little Doggie,” and “Mule,” that truly gave their Fest closing set its strength. These older tunes highlight Haynes strength as a songwriter, but it was the encore that truly showed how special a songwriter he can be. In a move that was even less surprising than the day’s various sit-ins, Govt Mule closed with the Warren Haynes standard “Soulshine,” that was aided by the return of Holloway’s always welcome sax work.  While sometimes derided for it’s all too often appearances, “Soulshine” with its all too commonality begs to ask the question, “If you wrote a song as good as ‘Soulshine’, wouldn’t you play it every night as well?”


                Despite the blues, the ass-shaking grooves, the explosive funk, the sit-ins, Soulshine, and the un-paralleled songwriting, the real star of the day was Hot August Blues founder and organizer Brad Selko.  Now in its 20th year, the one-time backyard party has blossomed into one of the premier midsized festivals around, and the credit for that growth goes directly to Selko and his tireless efforts year in and year out.  In the program that was handed out at the front gate as you entered the festival grounds, there was a picture of Selko taken at the very first Hot August Blues. He was leaning on the fence in his backyard smiling broadly at what he had created.  Selko was omnipresent throughout the day, this year as he always is, walking in the crowd, chatting folks up over by the front gate, hanging by the merch table, grooving on the side stage, and while he may be a little older, a little grayer than he was in that picture from 20 years, the smile was just as big, and the fest he first started 20 years in his backyard while it might be a little bigger, and host more bands, it is still without doubt just as special now as it was then.

Click the thumbnails to view more photos from Hot August Blues by Tim Newby…