“A leader on mandolin/acoustic guitar that strongly recalls The Bad Livers…..with fierce picking that recalls Tim O’Brien in his youth and a voice that just might unleash hellfire one day, Jacob Navarro made one feel, by turns, that the grave loomed near or one had just gotten the best kiss they could remember in recent history….” Dennis Cook, Jambase. Dirty Impound
These days, when I’m not on the road playing music, I split my time between living in a hundred year old farmhouse on Fidalgo Island, and staying on a sailboat in Seattle immersed in the cities vibrant music scene. I grew up in the small blue-collar town of Anacortes Washington, out in the San Juan Islands. I spent my youth collecting records, playing guitar, exploring the woods and lakes that surrounded home, and sailing the waters of the Puget Sound.
I perform solo, collaborate with musicians and bands, and am in the folk-rock group Spoonshine. Spoonshine’s last three records were produced by Adam Kasper (Foo Fighters, Cat Power, Pearl Jam, Into The Wild Soundtrack, REM, Soundgarden).
Some notable collaborations have been recording with George Schwindt from Flogging Molly, recording and gigging with Danny Barnes on banjo, and playing mandolin for music legend Eddie Vedder on his song “Better Days” for the Eat Pray Love soundtrack. I have done a lot of session work over the years, from basement studio’s in the San Juan Islands, studios in Seattle and LA, to studios found in the hills of Tuscany and Provance, studio session work has brought me literally around the world, and exposed me to many great musicians, producers and experiences.
I also write music for television, and have composed music for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Spike TV.
I have a small recording/creative space of my own called Otter House Studios in Seattle.
I’ve framed houses in the midst of the winter snow, dug ditches, stood bleary eyed in front of a conveyor belt in a factory assembly line day dreaming of song lyrics, driven a travel lift and blocked up ships at a boat yard. I ran a high school music program at a group home for troubled inner city youth on a small island, lived on a failed commune in an old van, lifted many heavy stacks of wood in a lumberyard, and once spent a memorable 24hours stranded at the Greyhound station in Tijuana. I have helped sail a boat down the west coast, survived a hurricane sailing in the Sea of Cortez, and spent one fine summer on a forty foot catamaran off the Atlantic coast of France. I’ve driven across the back roads and highways of the USA, sampling greasy spoons and truck stop coffee the whole way. As a performer I have been cheered, praised, heckled, and totally ignored, sometimes all at the same time. I’ve wandered around Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, France, England, Russia, Mexico, Canada…..I’ve been lucky and unlucky, but mostly lucky, and I count my blessings, because what a long strange trip it’s been. Hope to see you somewhere on down the road! – Jacob Navarro