Years of songwriting, and all the experience he’s packed into his two decades of life, are wrapped into Charlie Jacobson’s new album, Alberta Flood.
The 23-year-old Red Deer singer/guitarist will kick-start 2016 by playing some jumping blues-rock with his band at an album release party Jan. 1 and 2 at Fratters Speakeasy in Red Deer.
Alberta Flood is “a landmark for me,” said Jacobson.
It’s his first professional, self-produced full-length album, recorded over the last year at a DanLyn Studios near Edmonton.
And it contains songs of innocence and experience.
Some tunes on the album are brand new, while others go back to his teenage years when he was attending Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School and honing his skills by listening to music by traditional blues artists.
“It’s great to see this album finally come together, and get those songs out there for everyone to hear,” said Jacobson.
“It’s like turning the page and ending a chapter” — which is high time, he noted, “since I have a lot more songs to come.”
Jacobson is backed by a veritable super-band of blues musicians on the recording: Maple Blues Award-winning pianist David Vest, former-B.B. King bassist Russell Jackson, and Grammy-winning drummer Donald Ray Johnson.
The young guitarist’s been performing with these veterans on the Western Canadian blues circuit over the last couple of years.
He considers himself lucky to have learned from the real-deal musicians, all in their 60s and 70s now.
Jacobson, who also just wrapped up some gigs with Juno Award-winning boogie-woogie pianist Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and renowned harp player Sherman “Tank” Doucette, said “I’m a student of life, a student of blues music…”
Alberta Flood should prove he’s learned his lessons well — the album’s party tune, Cruisin’ Susie, is already getting CKUA radio play.
Other songs include I’ve Got Doubts, “about a past relationship that I had,” said Jacobson of the rocking tune about the end of a romance.
The more plaintive High River Flood is similarly self-explanatory.
“I wrote it as a Delta blues kind of shuffle,” said the singer.
By contrast, Jacobson likes to play the upbeat Shake It Out at his shows to get people onto the dance floor.
The musician divides his free time between Red Deer, where his parents live, and his home in the Kootenays, where he likes to camp and decompress from busy periods on the road. Some tours are so hectic, “I don’t have time to shave my face,” he admitted, with a chuckle.
Jacobson has played hundreds of gigs at festivals, house concerts, blues clubs and theatres since releasing his solo debut EP Live from the Chop Bin in 2013.
At Fratters he will perform with the Charlie Jacobson Band, including Red Deer brothers Cory Gomez on bass and Craig Gomez on guitar and Ben Parker on drums.
Jacobson doesn’t see his life slowing down at all in the new year.
Amid more touring in Western Canada and Ontario, he’s planning a trip to Toronto to showcase his music at the 2016 Maple Blues Awards.
“I was invited out by the Toronto Blues Society president,” said Jacobson.
He was told more familiarity with his music in Ontario could put him in good standing to receive a new artist nomination in future.
It would be a big step forward, admitted Jacobson, who will also perform on New Year’s Eve at the Springbrook Multiplex.
Tickets for that 9 p.m. event are $20 from the Springbrook General Store.
There’s a $10 cover for the Jan. 1 and 2 album release shows at Fratters. Alberta Flood will also be available there, or from Jacobson’s website or The Soundhouse in Red Deer.