Pi Jacobs (2022 program)

bluesy Americana

A special performance for our 2022 online festival! Watch the performance anytime on festival day by following this link: https://youtu.be/AzvgSev8FNo

Pi Jacobs plays what’s been dubbed an “Americana bluesy rock thing.” Armed with an old Gibson acoustic, a “sultry” (Claremont Courier) and “explosive” (Glide Magazine) voice, and a thumping homemade stomp box, Pi creates a show that is a “mesmerizing” (Americana Highways) high-energy affair. Add to this mix the multi-talented identical twins, the Hall Brothers, on dobro, upright bass, and harmony vocals, and you have a show that takes you on a journey from rocking out, to singing along, to smiling, and perhaps to shedding a tear or two. “She might not heal you, but you’ll forget your problems for a few hours” (New Times San Luis Obispo).

Pi understands that even if she’s considered a liberal by some, at least she comes by it honestly. Raised by a single mother in the Bay Area, she spent the first two years of her life within a two-mile radius of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.

“I grew up with hippies, so back then I thought everybody was like that,” she says. “But my mom told me it was a bubble, especially in Northern California. So, not everyone is going to relate to being a hippie kid but I think anybody who grew up out of the mainstream will relate to being different.”

Throughout her childhood, storytelling was always around. She learned to read as a toddler and started singing by age 3 in her preschool chorus. Her mother, an avowed hippie who later became a schoolteacher, has been acting in community theatre productions for years, while Jacobs was a theatre kid in school. Pivotal memories from this era come to life in the stories for “Weed and Wine” and “Party Girl.”

Pi learned to play guitar at 11 but gravitated toward bass in college, where she also studied jazz and vocal performance. Although she played a few gigs accompanying herself on bass, she made it a point to get better at guitar when she decided to become a songwriter. She moved to New York after landing her first record deal and issued a debut album in 2001.

But when her boyfriend (and now-husband) got a job in Los Angeles, she reluctantly decided to come along. As a native Californian, she says she always dismissed LA, but within a few years she realized how many friends she’d made. “LA is so huge and the Americana scene is small and tight-knit. I found a haven and a supportive community there,” she says.