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Cris Jacobs Live Streams Show. Says Reaction From Fans Was Powerful and Unexpected

Cris Jacobs
Credit Cris Jacobs
Cris Jacobs

Cris Jacobs had just started streaming from his phone, duct taped to a music stand in his basement in Reisterstown.

“What’s up everybody,” Jacobs asked. Normally at a gig that would have been met by whoops and applause. This time, Jacobs heard nothing.

“I wish I could see every single one of your faces right now,” he said. “It goes without saying, it’s good to connect with you all in these weird times when we’re all just isolated.”

The shutting down of bars and the canceling of tours has silenced musicians. But some are using social media to get their music out.

Jacobs decided on a whim last week to stream a performance. He said the reaction he got from those who were watching, and were clearly hungering for a musical connection, satisfied him in a way no other performance has.

Jacobs is 41. For years he was in The Bridge, a band that had a loyal following in Baltimore. He is now out on his own, performing and writing songs he said are influenced by folk, blues, soul, country and rock.

With his touring dates canceled through at least June and with a wife and two kids to support, Jacobs decided to stream a show and ask for tips via Venmo and Paypal. He put out the word on social media that morning. And in an interview afterwards he says what happened when he was playing that evening blew him away.

“At one point I had over 1,000 people watching,” Jacobs said.” “People are starving for something like this right now. You can’t take this away from us, you know?”

For more than 90 minutes, Jacobs sang original music as well as covers. He switched off between an acoustic, an electric and a three-string guitar a friend made out of a cigar box.

“It’s like a lap style slide guitar,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said it was an humbling, powerful experience having so many people share the music with him.

“I didn’t think it would feel this way,” Jacobs said. “I’ve played a lot of shows throughout the years. I’ve been a professional musician for most of my life. I think it’s fair to say that I woke up the next day feeling more rewarded and validated than any gig I’ve ever done.

“Everybody seemed so happy and commenting together and saying ‘hey what’s up man how are you’ you know, connecting with each other. It was like a big hangout.

“I was in tears honestly because of the power of what happened,” Jacobs continued. “How it really brought people together in a joyous moment. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s what we need right now.”

Jacobs plans to stream music from his basement weekly and give 20 percent of the tip money he makes to organizations that are helping people during the coronavirus pandemic. You can find out more on Jacobs’ Facebook page

Jacobs said, “There’s so much more that happened that I’m inspired by and I’m really trying to figure out ways to harness the power of this thing to do some good with it.”