Singer-songwriter/guitarist Pi Jacobs feels personally motivated to help California wildfire victims. She and her husband and dog were evacuated from their home during last year’s La Tuna Canyon fire; and in December, firefighters again battled nearby flames while she was touring overseas. Two weeks ago, mudslides rumbled through their neighborhood.
“I wasn’t evacuated but I was trapped in my house for 48 hours, because there was a slide below us and a slide above us,” she recalls. “It’s been a crazy, crazy year. I feel so fortunate we’ve escaped any real damage, and I’m fully aware of how terrifying it is to go through something like this. That’s part of my motivation for wanting to try to raise awareness and money.”
Her vehicle for doing so is a video for her song “Weed and Wine”; viewers can donate to five nonprofits through buttons that pop up when it’s viewed on YouTube. For Jacobs, born in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, “Weed and Wine” is also a loving homage to Sonoma County, where her family moved when she was in middle school.
“Three months of harvest beats working minimum wage
Lots of folks say they will leave but they come back to stay
They come from the land of weed and wine
They pray to the gods of good crops and good times”
“I lived in 17 houses before I was 7, and two different communes, so there was a farm or two in there,” she explains, laughing. “I wouldn’t say that I grew up on a farm, but when we moved out to the country we were pretty rural. I went to school with a lot of kids who lived on pot farms.”
The song’s a poignant highlight of her 2017 album “A Little Blue,” which she recently promoted while touring Europe with fellow LA artist Ted Russell Kamp. She says audiences “everywhere” asked questions about America and President Trump.
“It got to the point that the first thing I would say was, ‘Let’s just get this out of the way: I didn’t vote for him, I don’t know anybody who voted for him, and when I’m home I’m signing petitions, marching, calling my representatives and doing everything I can to fight what’s going on.’ My perception was that people were really glad to hear that. I did not meet any pro-Trump people anywhere in Europe, at all. People are really scared of him. They were relieved to hear that there is a resistance. At the same time, they love Americana, they love country music and the South.”
Saturday she reunites with Kamp, Dobroist Adam Hall, and backup vocalist Kel Pritchard at the Escondite. After traveling to Kansas City for this month’s annual Folk Alliance conference, she plans to start writing her next album.
“I’m not one of those people who writes really well on the road. I’m either being extroverted doing shows, or introverted and in my house writing. So that’s where I’ll be — holed up in my house.”
Pi Jacobs returns to the Escondite, 410 Boyd St., Downtown LA, 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3; no cover. Leeann Skoda also performs. Info: (213) 626-1800. pijacobs.com, theescondite.com/losangeles