An eloquent tenor voice, expressive songcraft and melodies floating on lush waves of sparkling electronica: “Emotional Trip-Hop” is the term that singer/songwriter Jay Jacobson expresses to describe his new CD, Ready. Within this suite of songs beats a cohesive heart. “This CD is about allowing for all of the human experiences,” confirms Jay, as his song “Beautiful Thing,” echoes. “Moment by moment life passes somehow/The future and past are always right now.”
To create a vivid aural palette for these songs, Jay enlisted the assistance of producer/musician/engineer Barrett Yeretsian. Together, the two envisioned luminous arrangements and inventive pairings of digital and acoustic instruments. Contrasting with the modern, layered sound, two songs on Ready, “Open Your Eyes,” and “Silence in My Head,” feature Jay’s vocals accompanied by guitar and piano respectively, an open emotional breathing space in perfect counterpoint to the CD’s orchestrations.
A Philadelphia native and a multi-disciplinary performer, Jay is an established character actor in Los Angeles and a skilled improvisational performer who recently directed his first short film. Now, he is creating a one-man show based around his songs. Infinite Man, his recorded debut, introduced him to a coterie of worldwide fans who are now ready for Ready. “I’d love it if people listened to the CD and felt validated about who they are: That they realize who they are and however they feel is OK. I always think my songs are emotional, but recently someone heard the new tracks and described it as ‘An uplifting CD.’ I love that.”
Among the themes Jay explores a cautionary tale about the ecology titled “As We Rise,” “I recently traveled to Costa Rica. I was in the most diverse eco-system on earth with toucans, snakes, monkeys and butterflies. I asked about jaguars attacking people and the guide explained that they don’t, because there’s enough food in the jungle. It made me realize how out of balance we are.”
A symmetry of light and shadow underscores Jay’s songs, and he often pairs upbeat danceable grooves with reflective lyrics -- an apt metaphor that is a through line in his writing. “As you live, you have to let go of your preconceived notions about the way life is going to be – take what’s there and try to get to the next place. I’m excited about the possibilities. For me, this music reflects that.”
- Dan Kimpel