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PI JACOBS RELEASES NEW SINGLE “SOLDIER ON”

VIA BLACKBIRD RECORD LABEL

RECORDED WITH TWO TIME GRAMMY NOMINEE
ERIC CORNE

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Los Angeles – Pi Jacobs is proud to announce the release of her new album, Soldier On, via Blackbird Record Label.

Jacobs is a lifer. Born in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, she’s spent two decades onstage and on the road, creating a rhythmic, rootsy sound that’s as diverse as her upbringing.   

“My dad’s Filipino, my mom’s white and my step-grandmother and cousins are African American,” says the singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who moved between hippie communes during her childhood. “Growing up, our apartment looked like the UN. I didn’t know it was unusual until I left the Bay Area, and that’s one of the reasons I love Americana music. It’s inclusive. It makes room for everything. Traditional genres have become so segregated, and I want to break that mold.”

 

She turns a new page with Soldier On, an album that shines brighter on Pi’s bluesy interpretation of American roots music. It’s her tenth release, capturing a longtime songwriter at the peak of her powers, delivering stories of resilience and endurance. At the same time, a hotshot band kicks up plenty of dust behind her. Co-produced with two-time Grammy nominee Eric Corne, Soldier On finds Pi looking inward, balancing some of her most personal songwriting to date with full-band performances that were tracked mainly live. The result is the best of both worlds: an autobiographical album punctuated by groove and grit, caught halfway between the intimacy of Pi’s writing and the collaborative chemistry of her stripped-down band.  

Needless to say, Soldier On is being met with a terrific response; it is enjoying a 10 week ascent up the Americana radio charts. The press weighs in with The Grateful Web declaring, “Pi’s introspective songwriting against the backdrop of energetic band performances capturing the essence of her music’s live spirit, It blends autobiographical rawness with the dynamic punch of her band’s collaborative energy. American Highways effused, “The CD has a vintage pull on the ears from someone who has been around the barn a few times & understands the genre…Her vocals are like watercolors – each color runs into the other with a gentle change of hue & tint. She certainly mastered the art of infectious Americana melodies.” 

Pi’s voice is an elastic instrument that swoons one minute and swaggers the next; its delivery is whipped into shape by hundreds of live shows on both sides of the Atlantic. She gigs relentlessly with twin brothers Adam (dobro) and Zack Hall (upright bass), both of whom have played with Pi since 2017 — they appear throughout the record, as does drummer Butch Norton (Lucinda Williams, The Eels).

 

 

One thread throughout Pi’s career has been her appreciation for good grooves, and Soldier On honors that longtime love. Raised on California country songs, blues standards, soul classics, and Laurel Canyon folksongs, she began playing bass at 15. Jacobs even studied the instrument in college, earning a double major in bass and vocal performance. After relocating to NYC, she mixed acoustic guitar and hip-hop loops on her 2001 debut, Irrational. A move to California several years later brought her back to her musical roots, and her album Urbanicana found her assimilating country influences and southern rock textures into her music. 

The instrumentation on Soldier On is minimal, and Pi focuses the spotlight on her singing, storytelling, and songwriting skills instead.  

“I wanted to pare down to minimal instrumentation,” she explains. “I often tour without drums, using a homemade stomp box I developed. I wanted to honor that vibe. Groove is essential to me, though. I hear it in my head, even when I’m playing alone, and I like being able to represent it at my solo shows. That’s why I love working with drummer Butch Norton. He used a ton of percussion and almost no cymbals, which suited the mood. The album almost sounds quiet at times, but it also rocks.”  

That sense of balance is another one of Pi Jacobs’ magic tricks. Throughout the 21st century, she has straddled the dividing line between genres, creating her own Americana sound. She’s an artist in perpetual motion, evolving her music with each album, chasing her muse into unexplored territory, and creating a soundtrack for the ongoing journey. With Soldier On, she continues the exploration.

Photograph by Karman Kruske

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