From the October 27 2009 issue of the Tantasqua Town Common. Reprinted with permission from the author.
Release party at Pioneer Nov. 21
By Jonathan Cook
HOLLAND -It is difficult to conceive of a way to sing about a bad taste in the mouth more beautifully than Jacob Haller does on his new song Stale Tequila. Wait, don't turn the page. He didn't choose to write on that topic. He was challenged by an audience to write the song. And he did. And he blew the room away. Now, it's track one on his new CD, Mistaken Identity.
This effort by the Holland native is fresh off the presses and was received in the mail by the Town Common a few days ago. The cover is not glossy or splashed with bright colors. Nothing gives it away. But pop the CD in and Haller's strumming guitar and effortless voice waste no time. Stripped down songs without prominent accompaniment, this elemental music lays bare the basis of all rock and roll.
Haller ranges with hints of Leon Redbone, Greg Brown and Paul Geremia, smoothly pulling out lines that are as catchy as a smile. The tunes themselves never try too hard. They are just fresh and somewhat jolly sounding. People in Providence seem to like it too. One entertainment magazine nominated him for best songwriter in 2008.
The rootsy nature of this CD should be easy to understand given Haller's own musical roots. "I still remember the music parties my parents used to throw, where friends and families would bring their instruments by and we would sing all kinds of music, from old traditional songs to Motown hits," Haller said. "When I got to college I picked up the guitar and started learning some of those songs, and eventually I started writing songs of my own, mostly strange little songs I wrote to entertain my friends."
Haller began playing in Providence and now plays and sings some of the songs from his solo album with the band Killdevils. He has also found occasion to perform in the Central Mass. area.
He's coming back soon to play a CD release party at Pioneer Brewing, Nov. 21 from 6 - 10 p.m. He's bringing a few Rhode Island friends with him, including folk musician Kate Katzberg, folk jazz trio Anne's Cordial and the New Orleans-style dance band Superchief Trio. The event is free and patrons who wish to eat should bring a potluck dinner.
Haller will open the show playing solo, which is the orientation of the CD. Even where he employs a slightly "larger sound," as he calls it, his rendering of his own creations is the focus, and rightly so.
Expect a variety of songs.
"[There will be] songs that I wrote for friends and family, songs written for my own amusement, songs written for the Rhode Island Songwriters Association's 'Songwriters in the Round' series, as well as songs based on true events, songs that I made up out of whole cloth, songs that are relatively serious, and songs that are just plain goofy," Haller said. "I hope that anyone who listens to the CD will find something to enjoy."