Pi Jacobs “Two Truths and a Lie” (Traviana Records, 2020)

“Two truths and a lie” refers to the icebreaker party game where you reveal three statements about yourself. This album records Pi Jacobs doing the same, only musically. Which tracks are the truth? We may never know, but we can all enjoy the stories she tells even if some may be fiction. Pi Jacobs is like many folk artists a well-travelled woman. Raised in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district and growing up in California communes, Jacobs moved to New York where she got her record deal in 2017. Her dusty music started before this with a string of EPs in 2013 and 2015. Her first album ‘A Little Blue’ mixes folk and soul, and ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ continues this exploration.

With ‘Two Truths and a Lie’, Jacobs tells the stories of herself and other women, writing about motherhood, poverty, being a waitress, and the powerful Roman goddess Diana. It is fair to say the narrative of her gendered experiences shines a light through the dust in this powerful record. The tracks ‘No Sin to be Poor’ and ‘Party Girl’ slides us through the timeless rootsy roadhouse anthem of having good clean cheap times. Jacobs does it with aplomb; you can hear the whiskey and boots reflected in the shine of her Dobro.

‘A Little Mercy’ and ‘Waitress Blues’ leans into her female narrative, with lyrics like “Give momma relief…food and drink for the soul before she turns to bones” and “I make my own and it’s a lot than a lotta men…please just don’t contribute to those everlovin’ waitress blues”. Jacobs has crafted some serious yet light ballads about working motherhood and self-respect whose soul elements harken to artists such as Norah Jones, and Jewel.

Was she a waitress? Is she a mother? Was she a party girl? Which is the lie? You decide.

California girl becomes New York woman in this powerful follow up album
6/10

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