David Jacobs-Strain was born in 1983 in New Haven, Connecticut. As a youngster he moved with his family to Eugene, Oregon. In 2001 he graduated from South Eugene High School.
He began accompanying himself singing on the guitar at age nine with the encouragement of Eugene folk singer and guitar teacher, Emily Fox. The first strong blues influences came from live concerts at the W.O.W. Hall in Eugene by Walker T. Ryan and Taj Mahal and from listening to recordings of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Lightning Hopkins, and Robert Johnson. In the years since, Walker T. Ryan has become Jacobs-Strain’s mentor, friend and stage collaborator.
In the spring of 1994 he had his own slot on the Youth Stage at the Oregon Country Fair in addition to sharing the Shady Grove stage with Walker T. Ryan. Every year since he has performed on the Oregon Country Fair stages and as a “street” performer on the paths. He made his Seattle debut at the Northwest Folklife Festival at age 12 when he was invited to open the special.
In 1998 he was awarded a Portland “Blues In The Schools” scholarship to attend the Port Townsend workshop. Then, in 1999 at age 15, he became the workshop’s youngest ever faculty member, teaching introductory blues slide guitar. He was invited to return to that post in 2000.
Beyond the Port Townsend setting, Jacobs-Strain has gone on to share the stage with Del Rey and Steve James at concerts in Eugene; Robert Lowery and Alice Stuart at California’s Camino Country Blues Festival; Otis Taylor at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts; Alice Stuart, Ann Rabson and Otis Taylor at California’s Strawberry Music Festival; and John Jackson and Larry Johnson at the Swallow Hill Roots of the Blues Festival in Denver.