Singer-songwriter Jacob Acosta — who just moved from Tucson to Oakland — returns tomorrow night for a special, free CD release show at Flycatcher for his latest album, For The People By The People.
Download the album (on a pay-what-you-want offer) at: jacobacosta.bandcamp.com.
Acosta discussed the album and his music with the Tucson Weekly. Stay tuned to the upcoming issue for a full feature, but for now, here’s Acosta giving the song-by-song rundown of For The People By The People:
The reason I made it the first song on the record is it was the champion song. It overshadowed everything in my opinion when I started the (Indiegogo) campaign. This is the one song I knew that could bridge everything. The whole song is about breaking down barriers.
2. “White Fire”
A lot of things were dictated by that one song. (When I started writing the record) I was thinking that I might move. White fire is the hottest burning flame and I thought of it like a positive burn, like a controlled burn of the forest, where things regenerate in a new way.
3. “So Fine”
I never wrote a song about having fun meeting somebody at a bar. It’s something I stayed away from, wanting to write something more interesting or deep. Every songwriter does that. They don’t want to make it seem too easy to write a song. But I met a lot of people in bars and thought it was time to write a real bar song. I wanted to make it fun and silly. I couldn’t always make deep connections with everybody, I had to put myself out there and see what happens.
4. “In the Morning”
It’s a song that is more composed of phrases of music. It’s just bursts of excited phrases and prose. I really admire songwriters or bands that have done things like that. Then you don’t feel like you have to follow a song as much as be in the song, and rock out with it. It’s just about the things that make me happy and make me smile. It has the dream element, you’re excited about waking up and the fact that you’re alive again. You can dance, you can sing, you can walk down the street to the place you like to get your coffee. It’s about any of that, short bursts of excitement in your life
5. “These Eyes”
That’s a good story. This is probably one of the sweetest songs I’ve written in the last year. I met this beautiful performer in Seattle. She opened for me and she was really into my music. She knew the words to the songs and I couldn’t believe she’d taken the time to listen that much.
I was done with the show and she came to say hi to me, bought me a drink and was sitting next to me. I felt like there was this thing that was happening, but I didn’t get it. I messaged her later and it was actually true. She was hitting on me and I missed all of that. I was in business mode a little bit, talking to people about the music, selling shirts.
I wrote that song on the way back. It’s a little deeper in terms of the words. You can apply it to other things, so it’s about missed encounters in general. How often does that happen to people? Something is going on and should be more obvious to you. Hopefully you can use that experience of missing something to pay attention to the moments a little bit more all the time.
I’ve always played this song, ridiculously folky and shouty and always with a bunch of people. I think I just want to do a rock anthem version of this song. The message of the song is pretty much that you’re going to have these great loves of your life that are going to go away. It’s kind of like a more mature love song. You’re excited that those loves are going to come your away, but you’re aware they may not stick around and that’s OK because you’ll find other people you love, other places you love.
7. “Where To Go”
That’s one of those songs that I wrote for the previous tour, but I didn’t put it on the record because I didn’t have the money at the time. I wanted to bring it in this time because I thought it was a petty powerful song. I’d left my teaching job to be a national artist and had ended a five-year relationship and the whole song was pretty much about ‘What am I supposed to do now? Where am I supposed to go?’ All I can think to do is keep performing and connect with people as much as I can. It’s about trying to find out what the next step is in your life and I think that’s something a lot of people can relate to.
8. “Never Again”
This is another song like “Fullgrown” where I’d originally kept it very folky. So for the new record, after “White Fire” paved the way for a whole new style, changing the arrangements and everything, I wanted to turn this into almost a DJ song, a Postal Service kind of thing and make it more of a driving song rather than just a shouty song. That whole song was a lot of experimental midi tracking. The only real instruments in there are the vocals and the guitar.
It was an experiment. I actually arranged that song on the studio 30 min before we did it. I’d only ever performed the old version. It’s about making your own path and not having to settle for something. I’ve got my own way to do this and it’ll work out
9. “Oh Rock ‘n’ Roll”
That’s a song that I perform pretty much alone for the most part. It’s like the poster of what I feel sometimes. The music industry doesn’t look the same any more it doesn’t feel the same any more. Things aren’t like the old days, they really aren’t.
I don’t think of music as going to a show or buying the record. How you support an artist is how you interact with the artist beyond that one experience. The reality is I still believe there’s something magical about music and something magical about the connections you can make with it. You open up as a person if you can do it in a way that connects with people. In the end I just want to have that connection. I want to talk to people and I don’t want there to be a wall between me and the audience.