Jake La Botz review…September 4, 2017….

JAKE LA BOTZ

SUNNYSIDE

HI STYLE RECORDS

HOW I WISH SHE WAS MINE–HOBO ON A PASSENGER TRAIN–SUNNYSIDE–FEEL NO PAIN–INFLATABLE DUCK–THE HOTEL (FIX ME NOW)–FOR NICKELS AND DIMES–HARD TO LOVE WHAT YOU KILL–DAMSEL IN DISTRESS–THE TREES IN CALI

Jake La Botz dropped out of high school and followed his Muse by heading to the famed Maxwell Street in Chicago and learning the blues directly from masters such as Honeyboy Edwards and Jimmy Davis.  Adapting their traditional blues into his own unique sound,  Jake has become part Kerouac, part Sid Vicious, and part Haggard, and could be the “poster person” for “been there, done that.”  He’s been an addict in southern California, an actor, and a Buddhist Meditation instructor who now calls Nashville home.  His life experiences play out over the course of the ten original tunes of his latest release, “Sunnyside,” for Hi Style Records.

The characters in his songs mirror some of the stories from Jake’s life–grifters, down on their luck denizens of cheap motels, and small-towners looking  for the “big break” that never materializes.  The arrangements are, for the most part, sparse, to let Jake’s messages take front and center.  The subject matter is sometimes quite dark and foreboding, with precious few lighter touches.

The dangers of falling in love with your best friend’s girl is laid out in “How I Wish She Was Mine,” with a vibe that has a vintage Chess feel.  Jake describes his idea of freedom as being a “Hobo On A Passenger Train,” while folks who have a true passion for their music are those who busk “down subway stairs” for “Nickels And Dimes.”  “Feel No Pain” is Jake’s ode to summertime, with our favorite being the tale of the hotel that “stands in disrepair” filled with society’s rejects begging for their own fixes, with the appropriate title of  “The Hotel (Fix Me Now).”

Jake La Botz is an artist who takes traditional blues, folk, and gospel and forges his own sound, transferring it  into his characters, literally from “life’s other side.”  Enjoy the ride of his latest set, and try to keep on the “Sunnyside.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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