“You really honor the tradition of folk and songwriting.”
Buy CDs Online
You can buy Mokai CDs at cdbaby.com
- Anonymous Audience Member
“Great message in a vivid, deftly expressed package! Even more incredible live….”Rosalie Howarth – KFOG FM
“Very 21st century lyrics to a fingerpicking style that originated from the Piedmont style of blues guitar picking. Reminds me a lot of Dave Van Ronk, of the great folk scare of the 60s.”Kevin Vance, Across the Great Divide, KPFA
“…jazzy, jammy, bluesy structures around earthly laments, tales of ordinary folks, and the human struggle in general.”Kelly Vance, Stefanie Kalem – East Bay Express
“Fantastic guitar work and expressive vocals….great vocal style and timber. “Living In A House Of Cards” sticks out….great Merle Travis thumb working, you make it sound easy.”Wyatt Easterling, producer, record executive, songwriter
“…a fine performer and a helluva guitarist.”Stevie Coyle, Mighty Fine Guitars
“Mokai is a fine guitarist with socially conscious songs and eclectic arrangements.”Derk Richardson – KPFA FM
“Mokai – I listened to your CD and I gotta say it’s not just good, it’s TASTY. The production, songwriting and performance totally appeal to me. I get my roots acoustic blues guitar jollies with a cool and progressive edge thrown in.”Ted Silverman (Belle Monroe)
“…the guitar sound is absolutely fantastic! I totally want to hear another note and another, and another.”Magic Brook, performer
“…one of the more original players on the Bay Area acoustic music circuit.”Teja Gerkin, Acoustic Guitar Magazine
“Toe-tappin’ blues riffs, catchy, interesting melodies, and innovative instrumentation.”Performer Magazine
“Very beautiful approach Mokai, fresh and intrigueing! Wow!”Joegh Bullock, How Weird Fair
The Jaybird Said
(Release date: August 23, 2019)
Earthworm Records EWR 0119
Dynamic Americana, moving ballads and rhythmic, rock-infused roots music. Storytelling songwriting navigating divergent currents – the saga of people and the poet observing them.
Words and Music by Mokai
Produced by James Nash & Mokai
Recorded & Mixed by James Nash.
Mastered by Michael Romanowski Mastering, SF CA
Background Vocals: James Nash
Acoustic lead guitar: James Nash
Electric guitars: James Nash
Mandolin: James Nash
Piano: Julie Wolf
Hammond B3: Julie Wolf
Accordion: Julie Wolf
Fiddle: Philip Brezina
Upright bass: Joe Kyle Jr., Mike Anderson
Drums: Jeremy Hoenig, Rob Hooper
About the Album: On his 2019 album, “The Jaybird Said,” Mokai offers the listener a vision and feeling to be appreciated over and over. His third full-length release features songs that demonstrate his considerable songwriting chops and his unique fingerpicking style.
The album is produced by well-known Bay Area guitarist, James Nash (Waybacks), who Guitar Player called one of “50 Transcendent Acoustic Guitarists.” Besides engineering and producing, Nash adds lead work on acoustic and electric guitar, slide and mandolin.
The first single, “Mama’s Got the Blues,” features Nash on electric guitar and Julie Wolf (Indigo Girls, Ani Di Franco) on piano and Hammond B3. “I wanted to write something to honor single mothers who face so many challenges in our country today,” says Mokai. “Each line in the song is an image from the life of a mother I know.”
The CD is beautifully packaged with lush artwork and photography by art photographer Michael Rauner, in an earth-friendly cardboard packaging.
The album can be pre-ordered at iTunes and Bandcamp HERE and will be released on August 23rd.
Any Distraction’ll Do (2011)
Earthworm Records EWR 1101
12 Songs (plus alternate versions of several tracks)
A journey from the roots of folk-blues, on the road to modern guitar. Deeply introspective songwriting & high flying instrumental fingerstyle.
Produced by Jon Evans & Mokai
Recorded & Mixed by Jon Evans, San Pablo Recorders, Berkeley CA.
Mastered by Michael Romanowski Mastering, SF CA
Upright Bass: Jon Evans
Electric Guitars: Jon Evans
Drums: John Hanes
Hammond B3 organ, Accordion: Julie Wolf
Horn: Erik Jacobsen
(look for the alternate tracks only available there)
About the Album: Mokai’s second studio album is a gem of mature songwriting and breathtaking performances. Produced together with veteran engineer and master bassist, Jon Evans (Tori Amos) and including drums by John Hanes (Tom Waits) along with acoustic bass by Evans, this album highlights Mokai’s wide-ranging imagination and artistic moods. Featuring excellent fingerstyle guitar by Mokai, the album includes songs overflowing with intriguing lyrics, a couple of traditional folk-blues given the Mokai treatment, two instrumental solo guitar pieces, and a special recording of a song with lyrics taken from the writing of Jack London.
The CD is beautifully presented with lush photography by art photographer Michael Rauner, in an earth-friendly packaging, included a recycled plastic tray.
Earthworm Records EWR 0301 – 12 Songs
Putting a twist on traditional folk and folk blues styles, Mokai accompanies his soulful vocals with powerful grooves and smokin’ blues riffs. Propulsive, fingerstyle guitar drives Mokai’s music. Playful, then moving, his compositions touch both on big themes and intricate details.
Produced by Mokai
Recorded by Patrick Conway at Hyde St. Studios, SF, CA
Additional guitars recorded by Winter at EMB Studios, SF, CA
Mixed by Winter and Mokai at EMB Studios, SF, CA
Mastered by Ken Lee at Ken Lee Mastering, Oakland, CA
Upright Bass: Todd Sickafoose
Electric Bass: Jeff Cleland
Drums: Michael Israel, Andrew Bacon
Horn: John Capobianco
Flute: Matt Eakle
Background Vocals by Heather Davison, Erika Luckett & Jessie Turner
Saxophone: Mark Growden
On his debut CD “Unearthed”, Mokai uses everything from lush arrangements to spoken word, idiosyncratic guitar work and bold lyrics to blaze his own trail. Joined by a group of extremely talented musicians, including Matt Eakle (Dave Grisman Quintet) and Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco) – the result is a fully realized musical vision.
‘Unearthed’ was recorded in the historic Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco, California, the studio sound stages (and some of the same microphones!) used on famous recordings by artists such as Jefferson Airplane and CSNY. This gives the acoustic instruments – vocals, guitars, drums, upright bass and wind instruments a rich sonic luster, making this music sound timeless.
The CD disc has content for the computer, including a graphical interface with lyrics, video and alternate mixes.