It’s a sleepy Sunday evening at the Gold Pan Saloon. Singer-songwriter Patrick Jacobson is filling in on stage. Half the seats in the pub are empty, but Jacobson pours out the tunes with ardour. Patrons listen quietly, ears draped over every note he sings and chord he strums on his Fender acoustic … for the most part, at least.
When an audience member yells unreasonable requests between songs, he kids back like a seasoned veteran of the stage should. He’s comfortable plucking away in the spotlight. He’s done too many shows to count, big and small.
There’s a box of records by his feet. The records – his self-titled solo album – are printed on white vinyl. That should be enough to indicate he’s no run-of-the-mill strummer.
“The white vinyl is something I wanted right off the start,” said Jacobson. “I kind of like the combination of the blue and white on the cover – those are the colours I always had in mind.”
The release of his solo EP, which is available on vinyl and digital download, has strange timing. It went on sale last week in Whitehorse, the city he has called home for just a few months.
Jacobson is from Vancouver and the album was recorded on B.C.‘s Bowen Island, but the indie rocker has wanted to move to Whitehorse for years. When he was offered a job in the capital, he pounced on it.
“Coming up here playing with bands over the years, I just fell in love with the place,” said Jacobson. “It just seems more comfortable and every time I came up here it was harder and harder to leave. So I started looking for a reason to move up here … This year I finally made it happen.”
The album has Jacobson’s name on the front and a few big names on the back.
It was recorded with veteran producer Winston Hauschild, who recently had an album go triple platinum in China and Hong Kong.
Steven Drake, formerly of the Canadian rock band The Odds, does some of the lead guitar work and backing vocals. (The Odds broke into the mainstream with songs like “Eat My Brain” and “Truth Untold.”)
The album also features the talents of Robert Watt, who has worked with Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen and the Canadian rock band The Grapes of Wrath, and former Whitehorse musician Adam Fink from Pepper Sands and Gang Signs.
“After playing in multiple bands over the years you watch how bandmates get involved in other projects or other areas of their life and bands kind of fall apart,” said Jacobson. “So this time around I decided to do a solo record. Though it is very much a band effort, the idea is basically I can perform under my own name and have whoever is available to perform as my band.”
The music is melody- and guitar- driven. It can be poppy in spots and gritty in others, with a backbone of solid songwriting from the first to the last track.
It gives off a vibe that transcends decades of rock, sometimes with catchiness reminiscent of the Beatles – a major influence on Jacobson – and sometimes with a stern veneer remindful of the ‘90s.
“So I grew up with a lot of that melodic sensibility,” said Jacobson, who is in his 30s. “All the songs I listened to growing up had these great lush harmonies and they’re easy to sing along to. They have these great melodies that get stuck in your head … I try to write these melodies that people can sing along to or hum along to.”
“My last band was the Capitals – I was the main singer-songwriter – and the lead guitar player from that band is on this album as well,” he added. “These songs evolved out of the end of that band along with a few new tunes.”
Currently Jacobson is going it alone, promoting his album with solo acoustic shows. He co-hosts open mic with artist Lianne Cranfield at the Watershed Coffee Shop and Bar on Tuesdays. But he is working on putting together a band with Whitehorse musicians. He simply loves the music community up here, he said.
“I’ve played most of the venues in town already as well. Fans have been receptive, been buying the record and buying the shirts. It’s been really cool to see the support up here,” said Jacobson.
“Unlike the big city, the other bands and other musicians really support you as well. In the city you have little clusters of bands that support you and show up to each other’s shows. Up here everybody supports everybody – it doesn’t matter what genre, what skill level you’re at … And I think that’s fantastic.”
The album, Patrick Jacobson, is available at Triple J’s, The Watershed, Hamilton &
Son Guitar Works, Unitech Sound and Lighting Inc.
Contact Tom Patrick at