Sexy guitar. Infectious rhythms. Smoky vocals. KALO is pure, heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll with just a tease of blues and roots. Everything about KALO is unexpected — and that’s exactly why they’re quickly catching the eyes and ears of music lovers and industry professionals alike.
Following the successful reception of KALO’s second album, Dear John, in 2013, the blues- and roots-laced rock trio has continued touring and performing shows at great U.S. stages, headlining festivals in their home state and regionally and earning a name and a following through sweat, determination and electric stage shows.
Within the past two years, the band has opened up for L.A.-based rocker Andy Frasco, bluesman Mr. Sipp The Mississippi Blues Child, and the godfather of British blues, John Mayall. They’ve shared festival billing with superstar groups like the Avett Brothers and Robert Randolph and the Family Band.
Their sound? Add a sultry female voice on the Black Keys, add a dash of Elvis and Johnny Cash sprinkled in with a little John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Hendrix. It’s music to sink your teeth into with just a tinge of blues and roots to make it familiar … And you’ve never seen a girl play guitar like this …
In 2009, Israeli singer/songwriter/guitarist Bat-Or Kalo left Israel to soak herself in the sounds of U.S. music. After finishing her classical and jazz guitar studies and recording her jazz-imbued Flesh and Bones in Tel-Aviv, Kalo moved to New York to hone her skills as a live performer, frequenting stages like The Bitter End, Arlene’s Grocery, Rockwood Music Hall, CBGB and others.
She left The Big Apple in 2012 to strum her guitar and write in the heart of Dixie. Her sophomore album, Dear John, took root in the Mississippi Delta and other southern states, where its blues tinge began to grow. Along the way, Kalo the guitarist became KALO the band, adding Mack McKinney on bass and Mike Alexander on the drums.
“I’ve been in Oklahoma a few years now, and it’s validating to be accepted by the community here. Being from Israel, I didn’t know if I could ever feel at home making music in a foreign land. But I do. I feel like I have a base in the heart of the U.S. to tour from and evolve as an artist. I’ve found many great new friends and supportive people on this journey. It’s also refreshing to be able to support other artists from around here who are on their journeys as well. Oklahoma has woven itself into my music. I’m thankful for catching a ride on winds ‘sweeping down the plains’. For wide open skies … and for all that’s about to come and is here now,” said Bat-Or Kalo.
And what audiences grow to love listening to Dear John, they become enthralled with watching the songs performed live. Fiery, passionate and strong, Kalo’s guitar chops and contralto voice belie her small frame, while the solid bed provided by bassist Mack McKinney and drummer Mike Alexander allows the audience to feel a heartbeat. Alexander’s electric performances alongside McKinney’s ever-steady bass provides a pocket from which the band can take off and deliver emotional and fevered performances.
That’s why the regional entertainment alt-monthly Currentland described the band as “One of the most dominant musical forces representing Currentland right now…” And why AXS.com said, “KALO is the essence of sensuality and soul … The moment KALO steps on stage, cellphones are abandoned, conversations stop … and people drink in the music … [KALO] is a superstar.”
“Oklahoma has a very rich and diverse musical history, and there are some amazingly talented musicians that have come out of this state. I am very humbled and privileged to be able to say that I share the stage with some of the most gifted of these people. And, as wonderful as it is to travel and share a little piece of Oklahoma with other people wherever we go, nothing is better than performing right here in front of our home crowd,” said Mike Alexander, Choctaw, Oklahoma native and drummer in KALO.
“It’s an amazing thing that our road led us to all meet in Oklahoma, by way of Israel, Arkansas, and points in between. Our Okie roots run deep, and I can’t imagine a better place, platform or family of fans and supporters throughout this great state! Wherever we go, we always do our best to promote the art and culture of Oklahoma,” said Mack McKinney, bassist in KALO.
KALO recently celebrated the worldwide digital release of their live album, Live in NYC, recorded at the Bitter End in NYC. They plan to release a new album, Wild Change, in July. This album was recorded at Norman’s own Bell Labs.
For more information, please visit KALO’s listing in the Oklahoma Music Directory.