Blues From Elsewhere - Koby Israelite

Asphalt Tango

Blues From Elsewhere could just have well been titled Blues From Everywhere Else considering global music's preoccupation with North African blues. And of that, there are awesome examples such as Tinariwen, JUJU and a newcomer to western ears Baba Salah. But, Koby Israelite is making the connection, real or imagined, between the blues and musical cultures further a field still. In his blues, the quintessentially cool voice of the 21st century, the accordions takes the solos, but brace yourself. On Blues From Elsewhere the reedy squeeze box is locked in Jack White-style driving guitar grooves that will knock you flat. While his phrasing on the accordion is intricate; delicate even, the overall arrangements are huge and forceful. Most appreciated, the album is not a literal travelogue. The worldly aspects are implied as much as anything aside from a prevailing klezmer nod to his Jewish roots. Blues From Elsewhere forges new alloys of blues, Americana, Eastern European and Balkan; Country and Western (Johnny Has No Cash No More), folk (Subterranean Homesick Blues), Cajun (Crayfish Hora) and even over the top stadium rock with the closing bonus of Zeppelin's Kashmir. Comprehensive liner notes by Gil Karpas reveal, "Koby Israelite is a perfectionist ... he plays practically every instrument on the whole album except the bass which is provided by the legendary Jazz musician Yaron Stavi and the woodwind, which comes from the soulful reeds of Tigran Aleksanyan." A couple of vocal tracks are particularly arresting thanks to the gorgeous tones of Persian/Israeli singer Mor Karbasi and newcomer Annique. It's hard to pick a favorite track here. Blues From Elsewhere is a journey best enjoyed from beginning to end.