Cris Jacobs Talks Dead Under The Bridge at Kingman Island [Interview/Photos/Video/Audio]

Karin McLaughlin: Ok so hanging out with Cris Jacobs after his set at the Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival

Cris Jacobs: Hey hey!

KM: That was pretty intense with the rain, that was really a good one!

CJ: Yeah that was really cool, it was like a 30 second downpour

KM: Heavy, heavy. So you also recently played Delfest, now Kingman Island, where do you go after this?

CJ: Well, we’re going home tonight. And then next week, we’ve got some cool shows. We’ve got a concert series in Abingdon, VA and Charlotte, NC and then we’re going out west and doing High Sierra and then we’ve got a bunch of shows around that.  We’ll be doing Hot August in Baltimore at the end of the summer.  Got a couple Bridge shows next week – the 8x10.

KM: You’re all over it.  And you’re from Charm City –

CJ: Yes!

KM: Any idea why they call it Charm City?

CJ: Because it’s charming (laughs) you know what, I don’t know the origin of that.

KM: Because, present company excluded, they aren’t toooooo….

CJ: No, Baltimore gets a bad rap

KM: What’s your favorite venue to play in Baltimore?

CJ: 8x10

KM: That’s a good one

CJ: I have probably played that venue more than anybody on the planet. Honestly, throughout the years and all the different venues.

KM: Yeah, it’s like a sweatbox in there

CJ: They have the AC cranking in there these days. In the old days, you know you could smoke in there.

KM: You also mentioned the Dead – did you say that you saw them here in ’94?

CJ: Yes.

KM: How old were you in ’94?

CJ: I was 16

KM: So this was not with parents?

CJ: Actually, this was with parents because my parents were huge Deadheads and my parents have been going to see the Dead since 1968.

KM: Nice!  So here at RFK.

CJ: Everywhere but yeah that was my first show and they, you know, my parents have been leaving me and my sister with a sitter for long weekends all throughout our childhood for three nights at Madison Square Garden (laughs)

KM: Yup, I have friends that are doing that (now)

CJ: So finally, it was ‘hey can you guys get me a ticket this time around?’

KM: And then it was all clicking ‘Oh, that’s what they’ve been doing all this time!’

CJ: Oh yeah, absolutely!  It clicked right away.

KM: How much would you say the Dead influences your music?

CJ: Oh it influenced my whole….

KM: Life? (laughs)

CJ: Yeah, it influenced my whole jumping off point into a different world and that’s when I really got inspired to play the guitar.  To perform and write music for people – it was that show, here at RFK, it was my first ‘a-ha moment’ like ‘I wanna do THAT’ so I guess you could say that it’s influenced me quite a bit.

KM: So, what was that – a cigar box with strings attached to it?

CJ: Yeah.

KM: Did you build that?

CJ: No, I know a guy out in Oregon that makes them and he’s built me a couple.  Yeah, it’s a cigar box guitar, it’s pretty wicked.

KM: That’s awesome – like the old school washboard and jug. 

CJ: Yeah it’s cool.

KM: So, you’re playing Hot August (Music Festival), what else are you excited about in 2018?  Maybe not even playing a show, maybe going to one.  Are you teaming up with anyone you’re really excited about?

CJ: Well, we just opened for Willie Nelson and Sturgill Simpson at The Anthem.

KM: What is that tour called?

CJ: Well, they’re doing the Outlaw Music Festival but we did just a show at The Anthem with just them.

KM: Sturgill is good.

CJ: Yeah he is

KM: And Willie obviously

CJ: And Willie. But yeah we’re excited.  Finishing up our album, got a new album in the works and putting out an album in September that I worked with Ivan Neville on

KM: Oh, nice, I caught him, I think at Jazz Fest recently.

CJ: Yeah, you probably did!  He’s all over the place.  When were you down there?

KM: I was down the first weekend of Jazz Fest.

CJ: Oh, I just missed you – I was down there Monday of the week between.

KM: Monday is something else in New Orleans, Bourbon St is a sad, sad sight (laughs)

CJ: Yeah, I don’t even go to Bourbon Street anymore

KM: So, my token question – what’s on the musical bucket list?  Either seeing someone at a certain venue, playing with someone, write a song with someone, anything.

CJ: Hmm, good question.  There’s a lot of people I’d like to write songs with.  I’d love to write a song with Chris Stapleton or Jason Isbell but I’d love to play with some members of The Grateful Dead one day before it’s all over.  I haven’t gotten to experience that one yet, but I feel like it could happen soon.

KM: Yeah, why not?!  Well thank you so much for the time.  We’ll see you at Hot August or somewhere in between. 

CJ: Awesome, thank you!

Enjoy audio and livestream recordings of their Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival performance recorded by our collaborator Will Urquhart.

Cris Jacobs and his band, The Bridge, are doing three nights in a row at the 8x10 on June 21, 22, and 23. Tickets are still available but running very low, so make sure to buy them now if you want to go!

About the author
Karin McLaughlin

Karin McLaughlin

Karin has been a live music junkie all her life, however is a fairly new fan in the world of jam bands and bluegrass. She grew up on hip hop, classic soul, motown and classic rock but has found a new home in the festival world and that is what, in part, had brought her to DC Music Review. Karin produces and hosts a weekly radio show in the area called Karin's Calendar, where she talks all about 'Where to be in the DMV'. She is very excited to be starting down a semi-new road with us and hopes to use her interview skills and write ups of shows to contribute even more to DC Music Review.