Unearthed

by Mokai

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    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.

    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.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Unearthed via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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1.
It Ain't What You Is, It's What You Ain't Words and Music © Mokai Little Sue is much smaller than you She’s got a tiny hat and a itty bitty shoe She works short shifts and she lives off her tips She makes small talk, takes baby steps when she walks
 She’s got a heart big as a lion She’s got a big appetite I told her I’m buyin’. Old Buddy is a funny somebody He’s tall and thin and he’s got cruddy skin He looks like a jerk and his teeth need work His posture’s bad, his wardrobe is sad He’s got a heart pretty as a poem He’s just a mess o’ tangles, waitin’ for a comb. Sooner or later, brother, we all discover You can’t judge a book by its cover Would you be surprised to find that things are disguised And they’re often not what you surmised Crazy Granny is quite uncanny She’s become untamed, she don’t remember her name Everything was fine ‘til she started crossin’ state lines But now she can’t get far ‘cause they took away her car 
She’s got a heart, pure as a saint Sometimes it ain’t what you is It’s what you ain’t. No, it ain’t what you is, it’s what you ain't Ain't what you is, it ain't what you is, it’s what you ain't What U Ain’t
2.
Try (a little harder) words & music © Mokai When you go for broke and you end up broken Try to drink life to the dregs and end up chokin’ Say somethin’ serious, everyone thinks you’re jokin’ Or else they act like no one has spoken Try a little harder, a little harder now Try a little harder, a little harder now You gotta swim but you keep on sinkin’ Want to relax but you can’t stop thinkin’ You gotta grow but you keep on shrinkin’ Want to clean up your act but it just keeps stinkin’ Try a little harder, a little harder now You could try a little harder, try a little harder now You reach out; you get bent You lash out; you don’t make a dent Say what you mean, no one gets what you meant Or else they mistake your intent Try a little harder, try a little harder now Try a little harder, try a little harder now
3.
TREADMILL words & music © Mokai Treadmill / lesson learned /over and over Past tense / present / future / tension No release / pressure / no relief The same pain / relived / again and again Power / to decide / raped by power To divide / again and again / until The piece left is so tiny / you can’t see it you only know it’s there Falling through time / the quark at the center of the universe The first dogbark / that strikes the night / sparking Inevitable reply / unrestrainable / howl Irrepressible hope / another time / around the Treadmill / brain probing with eye / stalking with thighs Burning / lungs / constricted Heart / hurt / hunting Hungry / semi-conscious / lagging Toe dragging / step by step / by step This one like the first / indistinguishable from the next / the same step Over and over / and over / on a Treadmill / mass produced / batteries not included Government issue / made by prison labor / some assembly required The upgrade / costs extra / your life Remote controlled / mandatory / sentence after sentence Words / thoughts / uncontrollable Treadmill Treadmill Treadmill / speeding at a standstill / departing nowhere Arriving late / tired / broke Stammering out a lyric / offering a rhythm / hoping to get paid Getting laid / an orifice / an opening Crawling through / garbage in / garbage out Wet with impatience / blood red / coming Over and over / again and again / dying the same death A phosphorescence / spirit or sperm / illuminating The next body / lover / friend / enemy / the next unique Retread / blowout / and it cycles round And I’m still here / treading / on this Treadmill / trailing in this / roadrace Waltzing on the bride’s train / digging open graves / picking at scabs Running on empty / praying for rain / not passing for straight Passing on the right / braking for sunrise / stealing bases Putting my best foot forward / everytime / walking on the sunnyside All the time / wondering / where I am All the time / wondering / where I am Wandering in the wilderness / whistling in the wind / pissing in the pool Going through the motions / playing some / role Blowing the punchline / standing in the soupline / doing the time for the crime All the time / wondering / how do I get off this Treadmill?
4.
World Without War words and music © Mokai C G Am G Am Em Raise your voice against the silence, C D If only to hear your own cry; C G Am G Am Em Don’t sup port the violence C D That perpetuates a lie. G Bm Paint your colors on the darkness, C G Am G D No mat ter what the risk; G C G C Light a candle in the tempest G D G To show you exist. G C G C Because if you’d only sing your song G Am G D Louder than be fore, G C G We can make a world without war. C G Am G Am Em You can’t count the dead; C D You can’t count the tears C G Am G Am Em Or all the blood that’s been shed C D Throughout the years; G Bm You can’t justify the carnage, C G Am G D Can’t jus ti fy the pain; G C G C In every conflict through the ages G D G They all have died in vain. G C G C But if you’d only sing your song G Am G D Louder than be fore, G C G We can make a world without war. C G Am G Am Em Live your fullest in this moment, C D As you plant your seeds; C G Am G Am Em Don’t be scared by the tyrants C D Who want to control your needs. G Bm Help somebody with their burden, C G Am G D Let them share your load, G C G C Because we are all on one journey, G D G we are all on one road. G C G C So if you’d only sing your song G Am G D Louder than e ver before, G C G We can make a world without war.
5.
Pick Up the Pieces words and music © Mokai I looked at your track record, I checked with the fact checker, Nobody knows what you were paid. You fooled the investigator, You broke the lie detector, And threw yourself a parade. But the day’s gonna come When the sky falls in and Who will be there to Pick Up the Pieces Of the mess you have made? I took the trouble To sort through the rubble Before your trail could fade. Discontinued spare parts, Discarded broken hearts, And other telltale of your trade. Can’t you see that I am free? You have no power over me. I’ve gone somewhere I’d rather be Where you can never follow. All the bet takers, All the movers and the shakers, Are in a panic now. It’s a fact Your balancing act Is gonna end somehow.
6.
You Fly Like a Swallow You Fly like a Swallow Zig-zaggin’ through the light You fly like an arrow Straight and true in its flight You’re as cool as the mornin’ breeze Open as the sky Graceful as a passing cloud When you spread your wings to fly Eyes of mountain dew Hair of golden grain Lips like sun ripe cherries With kisses of gentle rain Wind and willow in your voice Flower petal skin A love as strong as the poundin’ surf When the tide is comin’ in Wild as the northwoods Wild as the wild west Sure as sunrise in the east You’re tougher than the rest Grapevine grows around the oak In a land way down south You’re so sweet the honeybees Just swarm around your mouth You fly like a swallow Zig-zaggin’ through the light You fly like an arrow Straight and true in its flight Fly around my blue eyed girl Fly around my daisy Fly around my blue eyed girl You know you make me crazy
7.
Trouble Is Coming words and music © Mokai Trouble is coming but you turn away Pretending that you’re too busy today Trouble is coming, you know it’s true Whoa-oh Trouble! Trouble! Yeah, Trouble! For me and you 
Trouble is coming but you close your eyes Pretending that you don’t realize Trouble is coming—it’s right outside Whoa-oh Trouble! Trouble! Whoa-oh Trouble! There’s no place to hide It’s gonna take a long time for change to come— I guess that things will have to get worse.
8.
Standing at a Crossroads words and music © Mokai Standing at a Crossroads, looking for a sign Something to tell me which way is mine People passing by, they don’t see me They’re all hurrying somewhere they’ve got to be Standing at a Crossroads, I cover my eyes I cover my ears so I don’t hear the lies People passing by, they don’t see me. They’re all looking for something. What can it be? Mass delusion, cause confusion I’ve got no illusions of any kind Standing at a Crossroads I’ve got to go and I’m wondering What I might find Standing at a Crossroads, I hold out my hand I ain’t got no country. I don’t own no land People try to tell me what’s right for me I try to show them but they don’t see A teardrop hits the sidewalk. A coin hits a cup Do what you got to, don’t ever give up People passing by, they don’t see me They’re all looking for something. What can it be? Mass delusion, cause confusion I’ve got no illusions about mankind Standing at a Crossroads, I’ve got to go and I’m wondering What I might find Standing At A Crossroads
9.
The Last Wild Creatures words and music © Mokai They’re gonna’ regret it, woah, this thing that they have done Yeah, they’re gonna’ regret it, when the last wild creatures are gone A millennial silence broken by a thundering gun The hide-stripped carcasses rotted in the sun The terror and the pillage had only begun Those angry men, they took from the earth Traded her riches for less than their worth Made the red people prisoners in the land of their birth But they’re gonna’ regret it, whoh, this thing that they have done Yeah, they’re gonna’ regret it, when the last wild creatures are gone In my worst nightmare the world that I see: Eight billion humans not one of them free And not a wild animal or an old growth tree. A river that flows when the fish are gone A land that grows only mono-crops and lawns A wind that blows no bird aloft in the dawn To the Grizzly and the Cougar, we’ve done great wrong For the Elk and the Salmon I sing this song I know that I’ll be missin’ them my whole life long Spirits of the wild, I know you can’t understand The violence you’ve suffered at man’s hand Now you’re gone and I’m so lonely in this barren land They’re gonna’ regret it, woah, this thing that they have done Yeah, they’re gonna’ regret it, when the last wild creatures are gone Yeah, they’re gonna’ be lonely Yeah, they’re gonna’ be lonely Yeah, they’re gonna’ be lonely
10.
OUT TO THE WOODS words and music © Mokai When we were kids havin’ fun Out to the woods we’d run Playin’ games and tellin’ jokes Down by the creek, climbin’ the oaks We’d go out to the woods We’d go out to the woods As we grew, we’d depend On the forest as a friend The animals and the birds Taught us lessons without words We’d go out to the woods We’d go out to the woods Then one spring, bulldozers came And life would never be the same That day they killed a child’s dream Beneath the chainsaw’s scream. The trees roots are in my bones My blood runs in the stones Oh how it hurts us all When the forests fall! We’d go out to the woods We’d go out to the woods
11.
04:18
Resist words and music © Mokai You can yield to love You can yield to the power of the spirit within But when you yield to oppression You’re just givin’ in When you yield to oppression You’re selling your children as slaves When you refuse to resist, You’re diggin’ their graves Resist Stand with your sisters Stand with your brothers Resist Stand with one another For so many years now That things have not been right Yet it’s so hard, so hard For the people to unite So caught up in just tryin’ to survive That you got no time to live And all the while you’re working for a boss He takes more than he gives Resist Take your dreams for reality Resist Set yourselves free For so many people The choices are few Like a single mother in the inner city Now, what’s she supposed to do? Tryin’ to keep her children safe In a violent world of concrete Working her fingers to the bone Just to get them something to eat Resist You know you would, You’d have no other choice Resist Raise your voice It hurts the heart It pains the soul It numbs the mind Thinkin’ of the horrors They’ve unleashed on humankind Strange forms of pollution And weapons of megadeath All the while they’ve got you in their chokehold Only one way to get your breath Resist You know you should You have no other choice Resist Raise your voice! Resist
12.
02:33
Throbbin' words and music © Mokai This throbbin’ in my heart, it is no ruse If I explode it’s ‘cause I lit the fuse If you must suffer to know joy, it’s still joy I would choose If you’re askin’ life for love, why would love refuse? Oh if life was made for sorrow, who could that amuse? My heart just keeps throbbin’, all that does is confuse Lately I seem to let things get extreme Stand back, I’ve got to let off a little steam If you’re scared of wakin’ up to find life is a dream It’s really realer than it may seem When I was born, they say, I was nude Well I believe that I felt gratitude If I formed expectations I hope that wasn’t rude Nobody ever warned me things would get this crude So all right you spend a third of your life sleepin’ and the other third gettin’ your food Tell me why should all the rest be platitude? The rabbits and squirrels all run around and frolic Somehow the people seem melancholic What once was plain livin’, now it’s diabolic Happiness has become symbolic So I just keep on tryin’ to grow from the muck I’ve learned to do it without a buck Just don’t try to tell me modern livin’ doesn’t suck You call it progress when you’re just plain stuck So what society keeps hurling at me I’ll keep tryin’ to duck Ooh I’ll get by with any luck One of these days I’m gonna get out from under Growin’ at ease in pure wonder One of these days, man, if I don’t blunder I’ll rise and blow these blues asunder Lyrics and Music © 2002 Marc De Polo

about

Mokai's Debut CD: Rootsy, bluesy songs with heart and attitude.

credits

released June 11, 2003

Bass: Todd Sickafoose
Drums: Michael Israel
Sax: Mark Growden
Flute: Matt Eakle
Horn: John CapoBianco
Background Vocals: Heather Davison, Erika Luckett, Jessie Turner

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Mokai San Francisco, California

Mokai adds a dose of contemporary attitude to roots music. He's known for his authentic folk-blues picking and eclectic originals.
His guitar style and technique were mentioned in the January 2013 issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine.
His roots sound and original guitar style echoes his deep connection to the playing of seminal folk artist like Big Bill Broonzy and Dave Van Ronk.
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