Geva Alon can’t remain our own little secret for much longer.
32-year-old singer-songwriter has emerged over the last six years as one of the
country’s musical gems – on one song a sensitive alt-country troubadour, and on
the next capable of unleashing a squalling full band wall of sound.
comparisons to Neil Young’s dual folky and rocker personas are not that far off,
filtering down to Alon’s full-bodied voice singing in impeccable English, rich
songwriting and masterful guitar playing. But the accomplished kibbutz-bred
performer isn’t just mimicking an established style or artist, he’s forged his
own alluring Americana sound that matures with each new album.
first solo effort, 2006’s Days of Hunger, released after years spent performing
with his indie rock band The Flying Baby and playing guitar for power-popper
Shay Noblemen, featured acoustic country-flavored acoustic guitar and harmonies.
It was followed in 2007 by The Wall of Sound, which included a heartfelt cover
version of David Bowie’s “Modern Love,” which became a hit on local radio. His
2009 Get Closer, produced by indie American studio whiz Thom Monahan (known for
his work with The Jayhawks, Silver Jews and Dinosaur Jr.), proved to be another
giant leap forward, with Alon being ably backed by jam rockers Tree on
everything from psychedelic raveups to rustic country tunes.
later, Alon teamed up again with Monahan to record the upcoming The Morning
Light. Its first single, “The Great Enlightenment,” has been released, and next
week Alon will be performing three shows with special guest Spanish roots
guitarist Jairo “Depedro” Zavala.
“This album was kind of an adventure
for me,” said Alon in a phone conversation earlier this week. “To start with, we
recorded it in a small village in Spain – it was the first time I recorded
outside of Israel. The other thing is that Thom brought in musicians with him
from the US whom I had never met before we started recording.”
quite a change from the process he went through with Get Closer, when he and
Tree, his touring band over the last two and a half years, spent months
rehearsing the songs before going into the studio.
“This time, the
musicians [Otto Hauser (drums) and Daniel Hindman (guitar) from American folk
band Vetiver, and Rufus Wainwright bassist Jeff Hill] had only heard acoustic
demos that I had recorded at home.
We built the arrangements right there
in the studio and recorded the songs right away,” said Alon.
really nervous about it at first, but I trusted Thom to know what was good for
the album. He brought in players he had worked with many times in the past, and
I let go and went with him. We all connected right away, and the atmosphere and
chemistry was wonderful. Sometimes you have to do scary stuff in order to move
That includes making a break with longtime musical accomplices
Tree, who are pursuing their own recording and touring career and forming a new
Calling the decision difficult but exciting, Alon said he
turned to some old friends to make the transition easier, including his drummer
in the Flying Baby, Itzhar Tannenbaum, and longtime friend Yiftah Shahaf on
“It’s great to play with people I’ve known for years, and they’re
really finding the right interpretation for the live versions of the songs I
recorded for the album,” said Alon.
The decision to record The Morning
Light came from a suggestion by Monahan, who told Alon about Paco Loco studios
in Cadiz, Spain, a studio the producer had previously used and
“Either Thom was going to come to Israel again or I was going to
go to him in the US to record,” he said.
“This was middle way for both
us. He told me that it was out in the countryside, you could really get away and
concentrate on the music. And it was really important for me to remove myself
from day-to-day life during the recording and get into a different
The other fringe benefit of recording in Spain for Alon was
hooking up with Depedro, the celebrated Spanish singer/songwriter who has built
a strong following in Israel due to his Tel Aviv shows in recent years with
Arizona indie favorites Calexico and more recently as a headliner on his own.
Alon was one of those fans smitten with Depedro, and following the completion of
his album, he performed with the Spanish star at a number of
“Those shows were really great.There was this personal connection,
and we became friends,” said Alon. “We said, ‘Listen, this can’t be the last
time this happens,’ so we made this opportunity for him to come here and join me
and the band.”
The shows are scheduled for February 9 at the Beat in Haifa; February 10 at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv; and February 11 at The Yellow Submarine in Jerusalem.
“He’ll come out and play a few of his songs with
us backing him, and then he’s going to be part of my band on some other songs.
It’s going to be really interesting.”
Not only that, but it will be an
opportunity to witness two articulate, nuanced rock ‘n’ rollers at the top of