Charles Jacobs: 25 Years, 6 Nights a Week on Bourbon Street
inTheir Adventureson August 28, 2019
“The blues is the truth. It’s an everyday reminder of your life, a different type of Gospel,” says Music Maker discovery artist Charles Jacobs. For 25 years, and usually 6 nights a week, Charles played up and down Bourbon Street wowing regulars and tourists with electrifying prowess on his guitar and a voice born deep in the Delta. Charles epitomizes what it means to be a working musician in a city that is notoriously tough on artists. He would head to his gigs right after working his day job driving a truck for a glass factory with his nights often ending at 4am.
Born in 1944 in Prentiss, MS, Charles was raised by his grandparents and came up on the farm, growing cotton and corn. Like many Blues musicians, he got his start in the church and was introduced to the Blues at local Juke Joints. Charles furthered his secular music education through annual visits to New Orleans, where his mother lived, and decided to move there right after graduating high school.
Shortly after arriving in New Orleans, Charles was approached by Little Freddie King who was in search of a singer for a group he was putting together. This would be Charles’ first time playing on the New Orleans music scene and led to him being a fixture on Bourbon Street, something that he continued to do until Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. With his home flooded and after working 25 years, 6 nights a week Charles was devastated and exhausted, so he decided to stop playing music.
This past April, Little Freddie King introduced Charles to Music Maker founder Timothy Duffy who immediately dug into his music to learn more. After his first listen Tim proclaimed, “Charles, in my opinion, is one of our greatest living blues singers and just an incredible blues guitarist.” Artist Support Specialist Christelle Ndong has been working with Charles to get him back on his feet and so that he can get back to playing shows.