REVIEWS FOR "THE LONG HAUL"
INK 19 Magazine - September 8, 2023 by Bob Pomeroy
"After putting out a pair of albums, NorthEastSouthWest and Long Beach Calling, where he played pretty much all the instruments, Mike Jacoby decided he really needed the input of a full band to bring his songs to their full potential. So Mike enlisted his old friend Don Read on bass, who brought along Mike Levin on drums. Once the trio started playing together, the chemistry was too strong to be denied, and the Electric Trio was born.
The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio play with the enthusiasm of a high school garage band and the charm of seasoned showmen. The Long Haul is a good album to put on when you need some reassurance that the world hasn’t completely gone to hell. “Everyone I Know” is a blast of power pop joy about everyday people finding pleasure in friends and family. Songs like “A Better Man” and “Be Nice” show Mike striving to be a good person. The rockabilly flavored “Bend” could almost have been commissioned by the Bend, Oregon, chamber of commerce with its catchy chorus, “meet me up in the Bend.”
Not everything on The Long Haul is cheery. “Before I Fry” is a visit with a death-row inmate. Even though the protagonist of the songs is looking back at the mistakes he made and contemplating how he could do things better, the subject is grim, but the music is driving and the attitude is optimistic. Even on death row, Mike is looking for the best in people and encouraging self-improvement.
The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio remind me a lot of Men and Volts with their roots rocking charm and askew, but positive, view of life. There is always a place on my playlist for a band that can see life as an absurd carnival."
TWANGVILLE - AUGUST 30, 2023 by Shawn Underwood
"I think most people would agree music is a visceral experience. It’s more than that, though. Sometimes the music moves you, and other times it makes you move. Los Angeles’ Mike Jacoby mostly writes and records in the latter style, and sticks to those strengths in his new album, The Long Haul. His previous three releases were primarily solo performances, with him taking the helm on most of the instruments. He started performing with a couple of steady wingmen in the Long Beach Calling timeframe, and they’ve joined him in the studio for this project.
One of the songs that’s most obvious on is The Calm Before the Storm, a commentary on people who focus on finding a scapegoat and laying blame. It has a western-tinged cloudburst of garage band guitar with vocal harmonies that highlight the benefit of different voices versus overdubs. At the other end of the self-awareness spectrum is A Better Man, with the hope of being a stand-up kind of guy driven by a lo-fi, fuzzy punk aesthetic. Nailing another rock sub-genre is She’s Funny That Way, with a southern rock spin on a woman who’s “never going to stay, she gets high with goodbye.”
Jacoby and the band seem to really click when they edge into some power pop. Right Off the Bat is a reflection on experiences in on-line dating when “her hug broke some ribs” and a different date’s jealous ex who had just gotten out of jail. That streak of humor also makes an appearance in Bend, a mini-travelogue about the outdoor lifestyle in southern Oregon, including a pun, for those who’ve driven it, about taking the Old 97’s south to Klamath Falls. If I Don’t Fry balances the searing guitar solos with a roadhouse piano. It’s about an inmate named Lucky who’s really hoping his appeal goes through. The CD ends with the title track, an observation that “life’s a knockdown, drag out, bust up, brawl”, set to a classic heavy rock soundtrack, again featuring Jacoby’s guitar work.
No one’s going to accuse Mike Jacoby of taking himself too seriously, whether in his newer work or with his alt-country, previous band, Haymaker. Frankly, I think that’s the appeal. It’s just simple rock and roll that pegs the fun meter. So hit play on any of his tunes and get your mind set for The Long Haul."
THE ALTERNATE ROOT - August 25, 2023 by Brian Rock
"The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio plugs in for their high energy debut, The Long Haul. After three solo albums (where Mike played all instruments himself) Jacoby recruited Don Read on bass and Mike Levin on drums. The addition of the rhythm section allows The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio to be more daring in his exploration of new musical directions. The result is a more confident and vibrant sound. The three musicians combine to create a raucous, Cow Punk/Alt Rock fusion that’s equal parts Old 97s, Blag Dahlia, and Camper Van Beethoven.
The album starts, appropriately enough, with “Right Off the Bat”. A tongue in cheek exploration of online dating. The song surges full speed ahead with driving guitar, throbbing bass, and pounding drums as Jacoby and company try their luck with burly biker chicks and emotionally unstable vegans, they call out in exasperation “right off the bat, this online dating. Right off the bat, you get what you get. Right off the bat, there’s no way of knowing. Right off the bat, it sure hasn’t worked out yet’. The bridge features a scorching guitar lick accompanied by rootsy fiddle as the song takes a turn for the better. Singing ‘right off the bat, we felt a connection. We talked and we laughed for hours on end’, Mike Jacoby finally finds a date worth dating. The optimism and energy of the song underscore the message that, in order to hit a home run, you have to step up to the plate.
“Everybody I Know” is an irresistible earworm of Alt Rock. With a catchy chorus, joyful hand claps, and crunchy guitar riffs, the song perfectly embodies its own lyrics that ‘there’s always something to celebrate’. “Everything” recalls the experimental Power Pop of Game Theory. “Be Nice” is a low flow, shoe-gaze ballad that evokes shades of Collective Soul and Liz Frame & The Kickers.
And then the cowboy hats come on.
“The Calm Before The Storm,” begins with Spaghetti Western guitar strains but soon erupts into an Old 97s style Cow Punk profile of a rational man giving in to his baser instincts. “A Better Man,” combines Jacoby’s grunge influences with his Cow Punk sensibilities in stark, staccato rhythms. “She’s Funny That Way,” is a harmonica laced tribute to the often contradictory facets of a woman’s personality. “Bend,” adds Rock and Roll guitar and piano to sing the praises of Bend, Oregon. “Maybe Just Maybe,” features hopped-up Cajun rhythms played on mandolin and fiddle to capture the frenetic energy of walking the minefield of a dysfunctional relationship. On a more somber note, The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio explore the psyche of a man on death row with “If I Don’t Fry”. Acknowledging his past crimes, the protagonist contemplates the life changes he could make if given a second chance. Despite the heavy subject matter, the melody bounces merrily along on amped-up Rockabilly rhythms. The Long Haul captures the electric nihilism of The Plimsouls. Pounding drums exaggerate the ticking of a clock as Jacoby paints a bleak picture of life, singing ‘if you can’t spot the mark, you’re probably it’. Again, the soaring guitar and driving rhythms belie the lyrical tone of the song. Whether enjoying life to the fullest or contemplating life’s inevitable end, the band plays with gusto. The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio certainly earn the electric part of their moniker and seem poised to electrify the Americana scene. (by Brian Rock)
MAKING A SCENE from August 21, 2023 by Jim Hynes
"Singer-songwriter Mike Jacoby has moved away from his multi-instrumental solo act that’s sustained him through his last three albums, in favor of a trio. This is not a ‘power trio’ in the context of a blues-rock act; but simply a way to generate musician interaction, thereby breathing new life into Jacoby’s wide-ranging songs that are best characterized as alt country or rocking Americana. They do carry a charged-up punch. His bandmates are bassist Don Read and drummer Mike Levin. Guest Lisa Jackert (violin, backing vocals) appears on several tracks and Art Bailey Jr. joins on three. Ironically though, that sought after interaction came mostly virtually as tracking was done separately during the pandemic, in some cases in an iterative process as Jacoby reshaped his songs.
Jacoby’s trio kicks it up quickly with the choogling “Right Off the Bat,” Jackert’s fiddle evoking Dylan’s Desire with Scarlett Rivera. If you can stop dancing for a minute to focus on Jacoby’s lyrics, it’s clear that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, as he lists the dangers of online dating. Yet, the feel-good, hyper idealistic “Everybody I Know” celebrates friendship with a ridiculously infectious hook. “The Calm Before the Storm” has that distinct insistent southern California vibe that imbues so many story songs from the likes of Dave Alvin, John Doe, and Mike Stinson. His fiery guitar playing pushed by Levin’s drums keeps our feet tapping throughout. The standout “Better Man” marries Jacoby’s love of rock n’ roll and witty lyrics. The exuberant “She’s Funny That Way,” sung with Jackert, also features her fiddle and some nice piano from Bailey Jr.
The riff heavy “Bend” is energetic traveling music for a trip north to Bend, OR as Bailey Jr. adds the barrelhouse piano to a tune that has tinges of brash punk-rock attitude. On the other hand, “Be Nice” is as gentle and palatable as the title suggests. The stomping, raw rock n’ roller “If I Don’t Fry” may be the prototypical soundtrack for this summer of heat. There’s a sarcastic ‘give me, give me’ in “Everything” while “Maybe Just Maybe” is a repurposed, reimagined take on a tune Jacoby originally did with his band, Haymaker. This up-tempo fiddle driven head banging version proves to be the singalong type tune more than conducive to a live show. Jacoby saves the title track for the closer, a snappy tune chock full of philosophical advice for all on respective life journeys with Jackert again joining the trio for to give it a dense, soaring sound.
Jacoby’s vibrant, hook-filled songs will have you tapping your feet and likely smiling as well."
LONESTAR TIME on August 14, 2023 by Remo Ricaldone
"Californian Mike Jacoby is among the most active musicians in the Long Beach area with a solo activity made up of three solo albums (the previous one dated 2019 and was titled "Long Beach Calling" to paraphrase the beloved Clash) and three other albums such as frontman of the Haymakers. Between rock'n'roll and alternative country, with a passion also for certain 'power pop' of the sixties and seventies, Mike Jacoby presents himself with his Electric Trio in the company of Mike Levin on drums and Don Read on bass in a work whose common denominator is a decidedly sparkling and enjoyable writing that passes thematically from love songs to songs steeped in suffering and problematic family relationships and then back to pure fun, along the lines of names like NRBQ, Jonathan Richman and Greg Kihn who over the course of the seventies gave their best. "The Long Haul" musically shows a beautiful melodic research that goes hand in hand with an instrumental solidity embellished by the presence of Lisa Jackert's violin and Art Bailey's piano for a selection that flows with great naturalness and spontaneity. "Right Off The Bat" is the best manifesto of the album's overall sound, with a nice 'puff' and the desire to amuse and have fun, in the best stars and stripes rock'n'roll tradition, "Everybody I Know" captures at best those sounds between rock and pop which had their most inspired moment in the mid-seventies and which today have the bittersweet taste of the past. "The Calm Before The Storm" veers a bit towards a certain alternative country with the presence of beautiful guitars and vocals that refer to the California of the sixties, with the subsequent "A Better Man" which brings the atmosphere back to the 'garage rock' remaining how you play in the same decade. "She's Funny That Way" travels between California and the British invasion groups with a remarkable freshness from the harmonic point of view, "Bend" is instead a 'rockin' country' once again of excellent workmanship, easy and perky, "Be Nice ” recalls the ballads of the so-called Paisley Underground and an excellent harmonica intervention by Mike Jacoby himself. The album continues in its final part with "If I Don't Fry" which recalls the compositions of the underrated Joey Spampinato with his NRBQs, the good "Everything", "Maybe Just Maybe" which appeared on a Haymakers record here re-read in a decidedly more acoustic way, a fun and light-hearted uptempo. The title song dismisses Mike Jacoby's electric trio with another moment that fits the overall mood well and marks a new chapter for a musician whose notoriety deserves far greater breadth."
ALTCOUNTRY.NL from August 13, 2023 by John Gjaltema.
"Mike Jacoby was in the band Haymaker ten years ago. Now he forms The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio with Mike Levin (drums) and Don Read (bass). The Long Haul (self-released) kicks off with "Right Off The Bat", which is a typical song for a trio. Pointy like The Police. Or maybe John Hiatt's "Slug Line" is a fairer comparison. "Everybody I Know" is wonderful pop as Ben Vaughn likes to bring it. Music as it was once made by Brinsley Schwarz. And with a guitar solo that evokes something of La Bamba. "The Calm Before The Storm" is a bit spaghetti western after that. But then with harmony vocals with the dirty shine of glam rock from the 70s. The firmly rolling "A Better Man" goes from boogie to grunge, but is mainly power pop. "She's Funny That Way" is a title that could be Nick Lowe's and that's how Jacoby (guitars) sings it. Bend also has the momentum and energy of pub rock. "The Be Nice", embellished with harmonica, suddenly pleases you a little less, especially because of the slightly fuller sound compared to the rest of the material. "Maybe Just Maybe" is power pop with violin and evokes memories of The Hooters (who remembers them?)."
RADIO GUITAR ONE - August 8, 2023 - by Luke Wolk
" For Mike Jacoby, the song always comes first. With a love of music born in classic rock ‘n‘ roll, Jacoby’s writing is firmly rooted in the Americana and Alt-Country veins. He always brings a fresh and unique perspective into the heart of each song’s story, which ranges from insightful to silly, from harrowing to hilarious. They can make you reflect inward, and they can make you laugh – often at the same time.
The 11 song set that makes up The Long Haul is a journey through classic rock and Americana. The overall sound reminds of late 70's rock that was influenced by The Kinks, The Beatles and The Stones. Bands like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers come to mind on the first listen. When songs are crafted as well as these are there isn't much more needed than 4 chords. In the blues and country world there is a saying "three chords and the truth"... in rock, it's four chords and a great hook, anything more would be unnecessary. This band has hooks to spare.
A standout track is She's Funny That Way. It reminds me of the late 60's pop bands in composition. It has an old school soul with an undated approach to the production. It features a catchy hook and harmonies that would be right at home on a Traveling Wilburys album. My feeling is bands from that late 70's era were young people when The Beatles ruled the world, and it's those McCartney / Lennon hooks that influenced the next generation of songwriters to move the ball forward into the 70's and early 80's. They used technology to alter the sound, but what wasn't lost yet was great songwriting, and that wasn't lost on The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio either!
Be Nice is a unique piece that would've been a great B- Side on a Cars hit from their first album. A hidden gem that would be on the flipside of a 45. This band is similar to The Cars in its ability to write timeless and infectious three minute pop songs. This one feels like the deep cut that the true fans would love. It's not the smash that everyone knows, but it is the one that people who know the catalog love. Perhaps a good example would be Racing In The Streets by Bruce Springsteen. It's not Born To Run, but the die-hards know it should've been.
The first single from this fine album is Everybody I Know. It is a bouncy pop song that has Tom Petty and 70's Kinks fingerprints all over it. The Kinks are a band I often reference, specifically late 70's Kinks. They were moving away from the 60's You Really Got Me type of big riffy guitars and seamlessly transitioning into songs like Come Dancing, Celluloid Heroes and Better Things. It is this kind of rock music that was one of the first to really blur the genre lines in my opinion. It is memorable music that wasn't remotely hard edged, but also not easy listening in any way. It seems that is one of the main arteries that fed what is now called Americana. I don't mean to suggest it is the only artery, but it has to be included in the conversation. The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio comfortably resides in those blurry lines, writing memorable songs that are not over produced and more importantly never overplaying within the work.
If you are a fan of songwriters that still want to rock, this record is a must hear. Bands like The Cars, The Greg Kihn Band, and Tom Petty all come to mind. There was a window of time in music when songwriting mattered, but they were still fun and catchy. There was a message in the lyrics if you wanted to hear it, but if you didn't pay attention to the message the song was still great. The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio captures that time perfectly. It's the kind of music that is played with big electric guitars but there is no electric guitar showboating. The band is pocketed and clearly committed to the songs. It reminds me of John Mellencamp's band in that sense. They can all very obviously play, but they choose to simply play the songs before they draw attention to themselves individually. The Long Haul is a great record that is a throwback to a much cooler time in music but doesn't feel like it is trying to do so. The band and songs feel natural, the way all great music sounds regardless of the genre. Check the record out. I promise you won't be disappointed! "
Pop Rock Records blurb - August 2023
“The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio managed to make a lot of noise on “The Calm Before the Storm” from their new album The Long Haul. There’s a Dwight Yoakam/Steve Earle countryfied rock and roll sound all over the record but this particular song has something extra, a propulsive drive, subtle hooks, and some Eagles-worthy harmony vocals in the chorus.”
"We also had the American alt.country and rock singer Mike Jacoby from Long Beach, California here at 'Rootstime' in the summer of 2019 with his then third solo album “Long Beach Calling” on which he played all instruments himself and which was a fitting parody of the album “London Calling” released 40 years earlier by the British punk rock band 'The Clash'.
With the album “The Long Haul” to be released this month, he chooses this time to release this eleven self-written track under the name 'The Mike Jacoby Electric Trio' in which he completes bassist Don Read and drummer Mike Levin to the said trio. Once again we are offered an abundance of uncomplicated and catchy alt.country and rock tunes, such as the single “Everybody I Know” that can be heard on the video.
Some guest musicians were also invited to the recording studio in Long Beach to provide some additional instrumentation. That honor this time goes to Lisa Jackert who plays on violin and provides backing vocals and Art Bailey who plays on piano on the song "Everybody I Know" about long-lasting friendship, on the carefree rocking song "Bend" with an ode to the town of the same name in the state of Oregon and with the funny song “If I Don't Fry”.
Mike Jacoby regularly includes a touch of humor in the lyrics, such as in the online dating opening track "Right Off The Bat", the rhythmically swinging "The Calm Before The Storm" or "She's Funny That Way". But it can sometimes sound a bit more serious as in the rock ballad “Be Nice” or in the song “Everything”. However, the rock sound prevails throughout this new record by 'The Mike Jacoby Electric Band', including in the two swinging closing songs “Maybe Just Maybe” that could also be heard in a version on the record “Beyond The Break” by Jacoby's former group. 'Haymaker' and in the beautiful closing album title track “The Long Haul”."