Cris Jacobs performs at The 8×10 in Baltimore on Dec. 20, 2021, the first of A Very Jerry Christmas, his annual series of holiday shows paying tribute to Jerry Garcia. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Admirable and arguably underappreciated is the local musician who’s become known across the country but is so multi-talented, enthusiastic and flexible as to wear a variety of hats to connect with hometown concertgoers in so many different ways.
Cris Jacobs emerged on the Baltimore circuit 20 years ago in the bluegrass group Smooth Kentucky — a squad that still performs locally — and he cut his teeth at a time the city was earning its reputation for having one of the nation’s very best music scenes. The leader of The Bridge, a beloved jam band blending a world of different sounds, Jacobs was right in the thick of it for a decade at the front of this colorful outfit, forging relationships near and far and all the while expanding his own influences.
Shakey Graves performs at the Hot August Music Festival at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md., on August 28, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
If ever there was an appetite for an outdoor music festival in the region, the time is surely now, and you could feel that in the thick, muggy air all day and night this past Saturday at the Hot August Music Festival held at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Maryland.
Featuring a head-turning lineup of musicians performing throughout the day and into the evening, the event drew several thousand people who filled the Baltimore County-operated park and many of whom took a seat or popped up a shade shelter on the main hill that was once used for skiing.
Cris Jacobs performs at the Frederick County Fairgrounds on Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Cris Jacobs, a Baltimore native and arguably one of the Charm City’s top songwriters and performers, took the stage recently in support of Grace Potter way out at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.
His appearance was announced just a few weeks back as part of what has become the unexpected gift of the fall season — the Showtime at the Drive In series of performances hosted by All Good Presents and Baltimore Soundstage. It was Cris’ first time performing at a drive-in style concert and his first live gig since February.
Chris Jacobs performs at Levon Helm Studios on Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Andrew Gardecki)
Baltimore’s own Cris Jacobs kicked off his set at The Hamilton Live recently with “Rooster Coop,” and there was indeed “something funky in the barnyard.” “Rooster Coop” perfectly captures the Cris Jacobs Band experience: it’s vaguely Americana, but with deep, funky R&B grooves. Cris is not the only artist to delve into “Americana soul,” as he calls it — Chris Stapleton’s style could be similarly characterized — but Cris also brings a jam band sensibility to the affair.
Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival (Photo courtesy Living Classrooms)
Make sure to put the Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival on your calendar for Saturday, June 9. For just $35 a ticket, you get eight and a half hours of music, from noon to 8:30, with five stages of acts to choose from. The festival is family friendly, including your four-legged children!
The festival has booked a diverse set of outstanding artists to perform this year. Headliners Ganstagrass, known for the Emmy-nominated theme song to the FX series Justified, play a unique brand of bluegrass/hip-hop fusion.