ALBUM REVIEW: Geva Alon “In The Morning Light”

Geva Alon may not be a name we recognise in the UK, but in Israel he is a household name. Having broken through as part of the rock trio The Flying Baby in 2000, Alon came to the fore of the Tel Aviv based folk scene in 2006 when he unleashed his country-tinged debut solo effort “Days Of Hunger”. Five years may have flown by since then, but Alon has barely looked back. Having conquered America with 2009’s “Get Closer”, Alon is hoping that album 4, “In The Morning Light” will hit the mark in Europe.

With comparisons to Neil Young, REM and Tom Rush being thrown about left, right and centre, it has to be noted that there is also a hint of Bob Dylan and Shawn Phillips to “In The Morning Light”. A breezy effort, Alon’s vocals take centre stage.

A storyteller to the core, Alon has composed a record that works on so many levels. While at face value “In The Morning Light” is a tender take on love, a closer look at the lyrical content unveils an ode to his home country – and an ability to see both sides of the story. Peaceful in its delivery, Alon’s message is crystal clear.

“In The Morning Light” has no stand out tracks. This is not a criticism. The album is blissfully, beautifully even.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

WIN! Signed Jack Savoretti Albums!

Jack Savoretti is a troubadour whose turn for the spotlight has finally arrived. Having steadily built a fanbase since his 2007 debut “Between The Minds”, Savoretti has been praised  with comparisons to both Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, yet never really crossed over into the mainstream. With latest album “Before The Storm”, building on his honest singer/songwriter back catalogue, Savoretti has struck gold in a radio friendly manner that does not sell out on his early appeal. To celebrate the recognition that The Kaje favourite is finally receiving, we have a couple of signed copies of “Before The Storm” for you to get hands on. To win, simply tell us the name of Savoretti’s second album… Email answers to by July 15th. 

ALBUM REVIEW Jack Savoretti “Before The Storm”

Jack Savoretti is often compared to Bob Dylan, but though both troubadours wear their hearts on their sleeve to speak their mind, Savoretti’s wine-soaked vocals are distinctly reminiscent of the sorrowful songsman Ray LaMontagne as he declares “I am not worthy” as he opens third album “Before The Storm”. Launching with album’s highlight “Not Worthy” is a big blunder on Savoretti’s behalf, but he need not worry as he happily treads the line between Paolo Nutini and the aforementioned LaMontagne throughout the album’s blissful and beautiful thirteen strong tracks.

Savoretti is far from a newcomer at the music game, having unleashed his debut “Between The Minds” back in 2007, but his latest effort is arguably his most commercially viable release. With the singer/songwriter once again firmly on the musical map, it is easy to see how the rich vocals of the passionate Savoretti will see him rise to the top of the musical map.

While the aforementioned “Not Worthy” is a firm favourite, it has strong competition as the album draws to a close with the Imelda May-esque rockabilly of “Knock Knock”. A surefire singalong, “Knock Knock” will have the toes tapping and shoulders shaking instantly. While the lush “For The Last Time” closes proceedings with a suitably understated dramatic flair

It would be a lie to say that “Before The Storm” was without flaw, given than many of the down-tempo middle moments verge on the forgettable, but with so many solid moments of pure musical magic contained within his latest release, Savoretti is sure to finally receive the  just rewards of his hard work and be praised with more than just critical acclaim. Expect Savoretti to be one of the acts that make your 2012 listening experience worth the while.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

The Kaje talks international success to Geva Alon

Israeli singer/songwriter Geva Alon may not be a household name in the UK as yet, but anyone who has heard his most recent outing “In The Morning Light”, will find it hard to disagree with the evidence that Alon is the closest to a contemporary Dylan that the music world has to offer. A humble presence on record, Alon’s soothing compositions are refreshingly unassuming, yet somehow manage to slip into your soul and shake you to your foundations. With such blissful impact still stirring The Kaje, we decided to waste little time in finding why it has taken the already internationally claimed song-smith so long to hit our shores…

You have experienced a lot of success at home in Israel-what has prompted your decision to take it to an international level now?

I always worked my career in my home country and abroad at the same time. But naturally, being from Israel, I played and pushed my music in Israel a lot more than other places. As my career moved forward, the international market became more of a focus.

Your material is seemingly more influenced by the American as opposed to the Israeli-why do you think this is?

A lot of the music that was around me as a child was American and British. My dad used to listen to Elvis and my older brothers introduced me to the Stones, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Neil Young, Dylan and many more. So those were my main influences as a child.

Your compositions work on two levels-the emotional and the political-was this a conscious decision?

I usually write from personal and emotional experiences. A lot of my songs come from romance and nostalgia to my days as a child growing up on a Kibbutz. I try to avoid politics although living in this region sometimes it’s inevitable.

Tell us more about “In The Morning Light” both conceptually and lyrically…

For me this album symbols a new chapter in my adult life, where I try to focus on what’s really important to me and the way I want to live my life. Before the making of this album I had a very intense few years which really changed my point of view on many things in the music industry and my life style. So I think this album is a new dawn for me, hence the title “In The Morning Light”.

“In The Morning Light” is album 4-how would you say it compares to your earlier work?

I think it is very different than anything I’ve done in the past. It’s the first album that I recorded outside of Israel and with a group of musician that I never met before the day we started recording. All the arrangements of the songs were made during the recordings and I think it gave the album a really fresh sound.

If you had to pick one song to exemplify “In The Morning Light”, which would it be? Why?

“Valor Girl” is a good example and one of favorite track on the album. The sound, atmosphere and looseness on that track really defines the vibe of the group during the recordings.

What are your ambitions for “In The Morning Light”?

I’m really proud of this record so I want to be able to introduce it to as many people as possible anywhere in the world by touring as much as I can.

You are bringing the live show to the UK-what is the Geva Alon live experience?

The live versions are more intense than the albums. Me and the band tend to take the songs to the next level with deeper and longer solos and jams in some songs, and tougher and harder in others.

Which aspect do you prefer-performance or recording?

I love both aspects although I must say having played way more shows than recorded albums, I think I’m more connected to live aspect. It’s always thrilling, new and never boring.

Interview by Jeremy Williams

The Kaje talks band dynamics to Billy Vincent

Fronted by long time compatriots and best friends, Billy Barratt and David Vincent, Billy Vincent are in fact a multi-talented, multi-genre band who have crafted a collection of songs that are as lyrically stimulating as they are musically. With their debut album “She” finally available for purchase, the band have kicked off proceedings with the irressistible lead single “Bottle Top”. Known for the defining harmonies and kick-ass live shows, the line-up is completed by Matt Woodward (fiddle), Jack Blenkinsop (drums) and last but not least bassist Joe Kinsey, who has kindly taken time out of their increasingly hectic schedule to fill us in on band dynamics…

Billy Vincent is a name that could be mistaken for a solo project-how did you decide on the name?

Billy (Barratt) & David (Vincent) have been in bands since they could play, always working towards something. It seems Billy Vincent is that something, the culmination of their work, so it’s fitting that it’s a culmination of their names.

You are in fact a quintet, how did you get together?

Bill & David, since childhood, were always in bands together, while I played in other bands and on my own for a bit. When their last band, who I was a big fan of, folded I just put my hat in the ring and was chuffed to strap on the bass guitar. We knew we wanted a fiddle player and drew the ace on Matt. And a solid drummer is the backbone of any band…Jack came highly recommended and we haven’t looked back since!

Your sound takes in a variety of styles-who brings what ingredients to the table?

Well, essentially it’s about the songs, and Bill & David bring them in abundance. It’s great with two songwriters, you always tend to have something new on the table. Often they’ll come in with a fair idea of where it’s headed, sometimes fully demoed, and we’ll wrap our parts around it. We’re all fairly creative so we’ll bat a few ideas around and wander through a few different versions and take a bit from each. Matt likes to call it the ‘Billy Vincent treatment’ – though there are inevitably occasions where we’ll go through all that and return to the first version!

You are essentially a band with two frontmen-how do you decide which vocal works best when?

Probably one for Bill & David but I think they tend to know by the time it comes to the rehearsal room who’s singing it, for whatever reason. Of course, with such strong harmonies the options are there for a number of approaches, and they could sing in tandem. Then there are songs like Prairie Wolves where it just sounds so right to have the two voices attack a verse each.

If you had to define your own sound, what would you call it? Who would you feel are obvious comparisons?

Only if we had to? Does that mean we can choose not to?

We like the broad spectrum of Americana. Via London of course. Comparisons are often fairly subjective so I suppose we can only point to a few touchstones…raised on The Beatles, Kinks, Springsteen, Tom Waits, Dylan…. discovering Nirvana, The Clash, Tracy Chapman, Bright Eyes, Nick Cave, Ryan Adams… The list goes on but it’s all played a part.

Are there any comparisons you are trying to avoid?

Haha. Well, assuming comparisons are subjective then I guess not. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and I know I’ve compared bands to others in the past and it’s been laughed off, so essentially no. Lazy comparisons can sometimes be a bugbear – you know, where one person assumes another’s opinion, and that feeds another, etc. We’ve had pretty healthy comparisons in the main though, so we’ve no room for complaints… a favourite being “Dexy’s meets Rolling Thunder Revue”!

Your debut album “She” has just been released-can you tell us what to expect?

The reviews can. We’re pretty pleased so far! It’s a great collection of songs – tender ballads, dark & dirty ballads, jigs and sing-alongs. It’s very lyrically driven, which given our influences probably isn’t surprising. Musically we took the live setup and just added a few bits. There was no need to go all out on it, but we supplemented our sound with pedal steel & piano, a bit of accordion, brass, hammond and some additional percussion.

What is the best flip to track, for an immediate introduction?

‘The Ballad Of Billy Vincent’ is picking up a lot of attention in the reviews & ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ is pretty instant – it opens the album and will be our next single. I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily a song that defines us but if pushed, I’d go for ‘Ballad Of Billy Vincent’.

Is there a band favourite-if so which? And why?

Maybe ‘Prairie Wolves’… It may actually have also been worthy of a mention as a ‘flip to’. It’s an older song off an earlier EP that just won’t go away – a lot of people, including us, seem to have a lot of love for it.

Which track goes down best in the live forum?

Depending on the night, the venue, or the mood it could be any. ‘Prairie Wolves’ of course, but ‘Feathers’ is also picked up on quite a lot. I think the full intensity of it is best captured live.

How do you alter your sound for the live shows?

We’ll try to tailor our show to the setting, and we like to change the set up as much as possible so no night is ever the same, so I guess that drives the sound – there’s never quite the same approach. We did have Martin Rossiter join us on keys for our album launch though, which was great. It allowed us to show the songs off in a new light.

What has been your live highlight to date?

I don’t think we could pick an individual moment. Tours, festivals, meeting new people, sharing stages, each show has its highlights, but to find yourselves sharing a bill with the people you’ve spent years listening to just doesn’t tire! If we’d have been told in January that we’d play with Danny & The Champs, The Sadies & Ben Kweller in the next 5 months, I doubt we’d have believed you!

And the lowlight?

Low light? It was a low hung monitor at our show in Winchester that I cracked me head on! Or maybe having a porcelain Pluto fall & crack me on the head in Brighton. Not sure how many lives I’ve got left!

Is there any stage you hope to conquer by the end of 2012?

There’s plenty left to conquer and we can’t do them quick enough! There are a few festivals we’re hoping on and we’re looking to get started on the next album as soon as possible, so with all other aims in sight I guess that’s next on the agenda.

Any other goals for this year?

Hopefully a few more from Robin Van Persie. For Arsenal of course…he’s going nowhere!

Interview and Photograph by Jeremy Williams

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