On his second full-length album, The Next Place I Leave, on his own Yako Records, Chris Yakopcic (pronounced ya-cop–sick) first charms you with his easy, small town, boy next door voice, and smooth storytelling, then he draws you in with a bevy of tasty finger picking guitar flourishes that mix Piedmont and pre-war delta styles of melody and moan, before laying down greasy slide on his trusty resonator. The rhythm section of Brian Hoeflich on drums and Leo Smith on Bass, step in behind him and lay down a sparse effective groove that lifts the mood and allows Yakopcic to roam further out and explore the breadth of his fret board skills.
The first two tracks of The Next Place I Leave are radio-ready examples of Yakopcic’s study, achievement and teachings in the arts of acoustic blues guitar playing and the Nashville songwriting process. For the title track, he recounts the tale of a rambling man, who escaped love, the law and the devil himself over a country two step. Then Yakopcic tackles the Robert Johnson standard “Preachin’ Blues,” delivering a version that is equal parts authenticity and innovation.
The album continues on to explore Yakopcic’s passion for melody and theme over the course of six more original compositions and three more special cover songs. He details his discovery and subsequent obsession with slide guitar playing in the slinky track “Smallman Street,” and his love of hitting the road during the cool shuffle “Sounds of The Highway.” The trio lays down foot stomping boogie on Mississippi Fred Mc Dowell’s “Write Me A Few Lines,” and transforms the Leonard Cohen slow crooning devotional “Tower Of Song,” into an Appalachian mountain holler. Album closer “My Last Three Strings,” is a gentle moving blues extolling the virtues of an uncomplicated life and devotion to his beloved guitar.