My Story

"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

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. When I'm not on the road touring or holed up in a recording studio somewhere, I still call Anacortes home.

I perform solo, spent much of 2015 and 2016 touring the country as Danny Barnes's accompanist, and I collaborate with many other musicians and bands. I was a founding member in the folk-rock group Spoonshine. Three of Spoonshine's 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 Pearl Jam frontman 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 Provence, studio session work has brought me literally around the world, and exposed me to many great musicians, producers and experiences.

I also occasionally write music for television, and have composed music for shows that have aired on Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Spike TV. I sometimes dabble in visual arts and graphic design. Basketball legend Bill Walton has a mural of my creation that covers an entire wall of his home.

I have a small recording studio called The Otter House. It gets used for my own projects, and various friends come there and track as well. I recorded most of Jenny Scheinman's solo record "Here On Earth" there, with the unequaled playing of Bill Frisell and Danny Barnes as her band.

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 isolated 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 helped sail a boat down the west coast, survived a hurricane and near dismasting 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, slept in hotels, motels, and the back of a van to many times to count. 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 life is one strange trip. Hope to see you somewhere on down the road! – Jacob Navarro