“My first memories, all my memories, are of feeling completely isolated, sad and alone”, says Avi Jacob. Though it would be easy for Jacob to lose himself in this darkness, his new EP, Surrender (out 23 March), does the opposite of that. Instead of retreating into himself Jacob uses the vulnerability of songwriting as a therapeutic form, for himself and for others. on Surrender Avi Jacob works to uncover his own deepest fears to mine that empathy. As he says “I’m trying to connect people to the reality of their emotions, if they understand them then they can understand and have empathy for others.”
“There was a guy after I sold all the albums opening for Dr. John, this guy came up to me and was wearing all camo, he was in town for a hunting conference. You could tell by looking at him he was very conservative. He had tears in his eyes and said “that song pickup truck was really beautiful, it touched me and made me think of my father”, or something to that effect. That to me was really important because I could tell that was a really big thing for him, to open up like that.”
Brothers James and Simone Felice holed up in a barn in New England in the dead of winter with Jacob to record this EP. You can hear the influence of the Felice’s, with an organ flourish, a touch of accordion, coaxing out those spacious, poignant moments on Surrender. Combining folk sensibilities with classic soul, in the vein of Alabama Shakes or Ray Lamontagne, Jacob’s EP is influenced equally by South Carolina, where he spent most of the past decade, and the Northeast where he spent his formative years. It’s a plainly self-reflective piece, not trying to impose itself on your but to bring you along for this frightening, elating, confusing journey.
AVI JACOB – SURRENDER EP – TRACK BY TRACK
“All the Liars”
This song to me is about the way we search for some person or some god to save us from feeling completely isolated & solitary. We cling to unhealthy romantic relationships, to antiquated stories in search of some semblance of a clear purpose where there is none. I have a tendency to get completely stuck on people that make me feel even more alone than actually being alone. I don’t know why.
“One and Only”
I was leaving for tour and my son was pressed up against the bay windows at his moms house just bawlin crying. Somewhere along the road I got into my head the idea of the wailing wall & if people find salvation on the search for meaning or in the not searching/staying home. The chorus is about how we as people, men especially, are encouraged not to show vulnerability. Vulnerability & honesty are things that people often talk to me about after my shows.
This one is pretty simple. I fell for a woman who had a boyfriend and I thought I had won her over but the next day I had to leave for South Carolina. That next day she called me and told me we had to pretend like it had never happened and we haven’t talked since except for a few words at shows. Her band has opened for me a few times and I’ve gotten extra joy singing this song at those shows. Also, the distance between Boston & South Carolina is almost exactly 1000 miles, and the night we were together we sang the song “500 miles” together
My father died several years ago in Nashville. He always bailed me out of trouble, including selling his Ford truck. I was doing a lot of drugs at the time and wasn’t around during his last months. My sister has been at a lot of my shows and always cries at this song. always.
I was changing the sheets on my bed and this song just struck me. Dealing with not getting into relationships before you’re in a good place with yourself. Also about getting stuck in unhealthy relationships.
New Website coming soon at https://www.avijacobfolk.com/