Going along in the same vein as our look at Blyss, which has become the Lifehouse of today, another band that formed in 1996 was the little-known Milwaukee, Wisconsin-area band Jacobstone.
Though the entire band has changed other than AJ Fink and Tony Olla, you probably know them now as Northern Room.
In 2002, Jacobstone released their latest album Regions and shortly afterward, many members felt led to focus on family or ministry, so AJ started a new band and has been going ever since.
Though there were many versions of Jacobstone’s membership, in the end, the group consisted of AJ Fink (guitars, vocals), Dan Spransy (bass, vocals), Jesse Gyldenvand (guitar), Tony Olla (keyboards, piano, guitar), and Chris Johnson (drums, percussion). Through their years together, they released four full albums: Glass Top Ships, Chambers and Volumes, Regions, and a Christmas album (as every Christian band seems bound to do).
Musically, their albums have varied quite a bit as the band found its voice. Early stuff from Glass Top Ships and Chambers and Volumes was much more accessible pop rock with lyrics that were obviously Christian in content. Regions took their sound into an entirely different direction. The first four songs are pretty normal but take things into a more psychadelic, dreamy, emotive atmosphere than the other albums. It’s music that soars and floats and glides along, if that makes sense at all. Very skillfully made, with a delicate layering of sounds and intense changes in the dynamics. The next 11 tracks are an ambient soundtrack that’s part of a project called Field of Poppies, designed to bring light on the conflict in the Balkans and promote dialogue between sides. It’s pretty trippy, but interesting nonetheless. Read a review here for more on all that.
Jacobstone broke up just as they were beginning to garner a lot of local acclaim. I’m glad to see AJ going on with Northern Room, but after you hear these songs, you’ll probably agree that Jacobstone could have gone far with their sound they’d developed for Regions.
Here are two songs from Jacobstone’s ground-breaking 2002 album Regions:
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