A Bit About Jake

Noted for his skill as a blues shouter and raconteur, Big Rude Jake (A Jacob Hiebert) was especially drawn to the roots of American music.  You’ll hear blues, jazz, rockabilly, jump, gospel, folk and fingerpicking ragtime guitar. Add a sharp wit and a touch of cabaret, and some punk rock attitude and you’ve got Big Rude Jake.

Powerhouse Songwriters

Based in Toronto, Canada, Jake started in the early 1990s by forming a band that combined his interest in traditional jazz, jump blues, rockabilly and punk. The lyrical style was inspired by his love for powerhouse songwriters like Tom Waits, Jacques Brel and Berthold Brecht. These ideas took him and his music around the world.

Stuffy Jazz Intellectuals

A history buff as well as a music lover, Jake was drawn to the jazz tradition for its passion and sensuality. He lamented the rise of the stuffy ‘jazz intellectual’ and dreamed up a plan to bring jazz back to its streetwise, rough hewn roots. His stage persona evoked strident passion and longing as he performed his jazz and blues influenced compositions in venues across Canada finding kindred spirits who appreciated his dream of a “Bawdy House Jazz” revival. Around this time, he became known as Father of the ‘Swing Punk’ sound, a catchy misnomer, since most of his body of work is not ‘Swing’.

Jake & his "Gentleman Players" recorded Butane Fumes & Bad Cologne, Blue Pariah and a bootleg cassette.

A move to New York and signing with Roadrunner Records resulted in Jake’s third album, 1999's self-titled Big Rude Jake. He spent the next few years touring Europe and the United States.

It has not yet been distributed digitally. More on that here.

Upon completion of his 4th album, 2001's Live Faust Die Jung, BRJ took a protracted hiatus from the recording industry. The decision to ‘disappear’ was made during recovery from a car accident which prevented him from touring the new record. It served him well.

During those years, he went back to playing solo guitar, enjoying the chance to focus on the ragtime fingerpicking style he’d studied under Mose Scarlett. He still played live, both solo and as a band leader, but used pseudonyms, shaking off the ‘big suit party animal’ persona of previous years. It left many uncertain of his whereabouts.

Big Rude Jake’s return to the recording side of the music business was marked by the 2009 release of Quicksand – yet another departure, inspired by Americana, Ragtime, Roots, Gospel and Folk.

The enthusiastically crowd-funded live album, Live & Out Loud, launched October 3rd, 2012. It gives listeners the chance to capture the feeling of "being there". Ask anyone who's experienced a "Jake" show in person. 

Two more albums were not far behind. Jake had been busy with his pet side projects: 

In 2014, Jake launched Blues for the Red Door, a cleverly conceived annual blues extravaganza in support of the Red Door Family Shelter. 

He was working on his next album, The Jackhammer Sessions, which will be released in the future. At this point, one single, The Invisible Hand is available, with more to follow. Eventually it will be released in its entirety, but I can't offer a date yet.