What: David Jacobs-Strain & The Crunk Mountain Boys

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: The Belfry, 302 E. Main Ave., Sisters

Cost: $17 plus fees in advance, $20 at the door

Contact: belfryevents.com

Longtime Bendites may be surprised to learn David Jacobs-Strain very nearly quit music about four years ago — after all, the blues guitarist has been a regular performer in town since he was a teenager.

In 2013, Jacobs-Strain’s girlfriend, Corissa Crowder, died suddenly from an undiagnosed autoimmune disease. A cause of death was never determined, but she had been sick “on-and-off for a long time,” Jacobs-Strain said.

“In a way, I kind of thought, I don’t even know if I want to keep playing music, or, I don’t know if I’ll want to keep performing unless the gigs feel really meaningful and significant,” he said recently while on the road in Virginia with longtime collaborator, harmonica player Bob Beach. “And Bob Beach really helped me to keep it on the rails. We actually played at a wedding outside of Sisters like 10 days after she died, and I’m really glad that we did. The folks who got married still come to our gigs. It was like the most horrible thing, to be at somebody else’s wedding at that time, and it was the best thing because it was a beautiful, beautiful, hopeful event.”

Then in 2014, about six months after Crowder’s death, Jacobs-Strain entered the legendary Sound City Studios to work with producer Kevin Augunas (The Black Keys, The Lumineers) and Fairfax Recordings. The recordings featured ubiquitous session drummer Jim Keltner (The Traveling Wilburys) and bassist Viktor Krauss (brother of Alison Krauss). He plans to release “The Sound City Sessions” sometime in the next year.

Jacobs-Strain’s last studio recording was 2013’s “Geneseo,” recorded in the upstate New York town of the same name with members of Counting Crows, Band of Horses and Ryan Adams’ band contributing. The singer-guitarist has been plenty busy on the road, including multiple trips to Central Oregon every year.

His next show here — a rare gig with his “electric string band” The Crunk Mountain Boys — is his fourth annual Halloween Extravaganza at The Belfry on Friday. Along with Cherry Poppin’ Daddies bassist Zak Johnson, drummer John Raden and Hammond B-3 player J.P. Garau, local musician Jim Goodwin (The Call) will sit in on saxophone.

“We will be throwing it down to party and playing loud and having fun,” Jacobs-Strain said. “The first time we did the Halloween party, we had just come off the road from somewhere else, and we didn’t have any costumes. And Angeline (Rhett, Belfry owner) brought a whole bag of wigs and dresses, and so The Crunk Mountain Boys opened for The Crunk Mountain Girls. And we’ve done that the last few years, as well, and I think people like The Crunk Mountain Girls better, and I’m starting to wonder why we ever wear pants onstage.”

In his 30s, Jacobs-Strain has grown beyond the prodigy tag he was often saddled with early in his career — not without reason. He’s played guitar since he was 8, inspired by seeing Taj Mahal perform in Eugene. (He’s since shared the stage with his hero). He performed his first gig at the Oregon Country Fair when he was 12, then further cut his teeth performing at festivals and on street corners in Eugene and Seattle, eventually dropping out of Stanford to pursue music full time.

“I still get people (in Bend) coming up and telling me that they first heard me when I was 11,” Jacobs-Strain said. “But actually, I was probably like 17, which is a little bit of an ego blow or something. You know, I never wanted that (prodigy) tag — I don’t think most people do — and in a way, I think if you’re lucky enough to fall in love with an instrument or with music at a young age, your brain is really wired to learn stuff quickly.”

One of the earliest Central Oregon gigs he remembers was the Sisters Folk Festival. He invited the festival’s creative director Brad Tisdel onstage during one of his sets to play djembe (a hand drum).

“Afterwards, he said to me, ‘Well, that was really fun; I hope that was OK. If you have any suggestions for my drumming?’” Jacobs-Strain said. “And I think he sort of was joking, and I think I said something along the lines of, ‘Yeah, maybe play a little less.’ He’s been giving me a hard time about that forever — I don’t know exactly what I said. The festival was smaller then; it didn’t sell out every single year.”

Jacobs-Strain has wracked up an impressive list of tour mates over the years: Boz Scaggs, Lucinda Williams, Todd Snider, George Thorogood and Robert Earl Keen, among others. He’s also continued to evolve his songwriting and sound, using the blues as a starting point to explore classic rock, country, soul and more on his studio albums.

“My music has been this slow evolution where I didn’t necessarily have a clear direction,” Jacobs-Strain said.

“I always have felt music through the blues — the way the blues feels, that’s how I relate to emotion and music. But when I started writing stuff, it didn’t necessarily come out as blues.

“… If I do a couple acoustic songs at The Belfry, I might play this song called ‘Further From the Road,’ which is sort of a narrative, and it’s definitely an Oregon kind of story,” he continued. “And that’s a song that I — I didn’t know how to write story-songs for the longest time. My songs were sort of impressionist, and gradually, I worked on trying to be able to follow a character or characters and develop them. And sometimes, some of the songs end up being more personal than I think they are when I start them, but I might go into it imagining that it’s somebody else.”

“Further From the Road” is also the planned title of another studio album Jacobs-Strain hopes to begin recording in November.

“This time, I’m working all with friends who are great players,” he said. “But I’m doing it in my studio and just in a much more, like, hey, let’s hang out and play like we play when we play around a campfire, kind of feel.”

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