Diana Jacobs Band

Syracuse New Times

Diana Jacobs & Midnite Mood. (independent).

Jacobs has got the kind of conviction in her voice that will stop you in your tracks. When she soars on songs like the Woodrow Buddy Johnson tune “Since I Fell For You,” you can feel the weight of her words on your psyche, digging in with every wail of “Lord have mercy.” It’s Jacobs’ pipes that most immediately impress on this self-titled album, yet her Midnite Mood backing band mates are no slouches, either, as they lay a brilliant foundation for Jacobs to build upon. The combination makes for a seriously soulful record that will get asses shaking or slow dancers cuddled in close.

Guitarist-vocalist Mettis and Jacobs make for a powerful band core. With more than 25 years’ performance experience together in Central New York, the married couple’s connection is clear within the music, as their musical lines weave and align beautifully. Jim VanArsdale adds guitar, keys and vocals, Mike Burns is on bass, Sue Ferlenda contributes backing vocals and David Chitambar is behind the kit solidifying the soul. Special guest Alphanso Thomas also kicks up the album’s emotional levels when his smooth sax work glosses over “Remember to Love.”

“Come on Over” is a playful track where the Jacobs bounce lyrics off one other, while the group’s take on “Kissin’ My Love” is appropriately faithful to Bill Withers’ version, with just enough originality to set it apart. For lovers of sexy soul music, attendance at the band’s next local gig—on Nov. 17, 8:30 p.m., at Bridge Street Tavern, 109 Bridge St.—should be a no-brainer. For more information, call 488-0936.

The Syracuse Post Standard

Ask the members of Diana Jacobs and Midnite Mood to pick the best description of their sound and the buzz grows like a busy beehive.

The combination of genres tumble quickly from vocalist Jacobs, her husband, guitarist Mettis Jacobs, and band mates Jim Van Arsdale, Dave Chitambar, Mike Burns and Sue Ferlanda as they gathered in The Post-Standard studio on Monday, Sept. 10, to perform the original song "Wastin' Time" for the Music Notes Performance series.

Blues. Funky blues. Funky blues with a touch of R&B.

"Metti-tude," conclude the non-Jacobs members of the band, citing Mettis' confident attitude.

Mettis and Diana first started in a band together 28 years ago. A CD, "Jacob's Ladder," came out in 2004. A second, self-titled album, is scheduled for release on Oct. 26, at a 7 p.m. party at Springside Inn,
6141 West Lake Road, Auburn.

Asked to pick out the best thing about the band, the Jacobs concur.

"We have a happy energy," says Diana.

"Yes, when we're playing out, we have an energy," seconds Mettis. "The best thing about the band is us (musicians)."

Diana says she likes to point out the band's "dynamic vocals and hot rhythm section."

"Mettis and I do a lot of duets on R&B songs," she says. "Sue and I get to do the female vocals songs."

The band plays from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, at the Springside Inn; 8 p.m. to midnight Sept. 21 at Legends Tavern, 34 S Cayuga St., Union Springs; and 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 28 at Suzy's Tavern, 346 West Genesee St., Auburn.

The Citizen, "Go" section

Some of Auburn’s best-known and most experienced musicians will be doing what they do best this Sunday at Suzy’s Tavern.The band is Diana Jacobs and Groove Theory, and most local music fans will recognize the players. Jacobs and her husband, Mettis, front the group and sing lead vocals. They’ve been performing together for more than two decades, bouncing among blues, gospel, funk and rhythm and blues. “People will be able to dance all night long,” Jacobs said. “There are a lot of duets, it’s fun music and it’s a very funky kind of blues.”

The core of the group played together 15 years ago as the Southspoon Blues Band. They had garnered a gathering playing traditional blues before life intervened. “We were all raising our children and following them to football games and basketball games and those kinds of things,” Jacobs said. “It’s fun to be (playing together) again. ... It’s a reunion of sorts.”

The current group also includes bassist Mike Burns, drummer Mark Murray, singer Sue Ferlenda and saxophonist Marty Klueber. They’re frequent favorites at local venues like Big Kahuna’s and Hoopes Park, but this will be their first time at Suzy’s. Jim Van Arsdale, the lead guitarist, said that having such an experienced group of musicians makes it easier to keep things together on stage. “It’s a joy to be at that place with another musician where you can say so much with eye contact or a certain guitar phrase,” he said. “It’s that unspoken language that you can really only develop with stage time together.”

The band plays a mix of blues and R&B, including some older songs and some newer ones along with a handful of originals. For example, they recently started incorporating an Alicia Keys song into their set lists, Jacobs said. “There’s always something new,” she said. “That soulful part of the music, someone always does something new with it, so it always fits.”

“Not every song you’ll have heard before — most of them you haven’t,” Van Arsdale added. “But it’s always a fun time.”

The Syracuse Post Standard

Auburn singer, pianist and songwriter Diana Jacobs lets her love show with "How Lovely," her first solo CD. Jacobs addresses letting her daughter soar into the world in the pretty "Caitlyn's Song." On "David's Song," she's sure her son is ready to demonstrate grace and strength. "If God's eye is on the sparrow, He'll surely keep our dove safe from harm and fill her life with love," Jacobs sings on the former. "Walk on with hope and trust in Him and you'll be made strong enough to soar on wings like an eagle," she sings in the latter. Jacobs' voice and piano complement each other, always the right matching color. Her song "I Thank Him" starts with quiet praise on the piano and ends with a pleasing crescendo of her passionate vocals. On the last song, "Waitin' on You Jesus," she shows an entertaining style that's part Gospel gospel, part show tune and totally joyful. Catch a show: Jacobs plays a CD release concert at 2 p.m. today at the Christian Missionary and Alliance Church, 630 N. Seward Ave., Auburn. There's no admission fee.

The Syracuse Post Standard

Sammy nominee introducing CD at concert Tuesday, September 09, 2008 Diana Jacobs will introduce her first solo CD album in a free concert Sept. 21. The show begins at 2 p.m. at the Christian Missionary & Alliance Church, 630 N. Seward Ave. The Roosevelt Memorial Baptist Church Men's Choir of Auburn also will perform. Jacobs was nominated for a Sammy in 2004 for her song "I Thank Him." The new CD, titled "How Lovely," features five of Jacobs' songs and five of her favorite worship songs. The CD will be available online at www.dianajacobsband.com, at Speno Music on Genesee Street, Auburn, and Borders at Carousel Center. For more information, contact Jacobs at 283-7361 or e-mail mettisanddi@yahoo.com.