Some may take issue with the claim that Mokai’s sophomore release is the epitome of modern folk blues.
"Any Distraction'll Do" is a multi-faceted work drawing from a deep creative well. We hear Mokai's connection to the roots of the blues–he teases and tugs at the folk-blues idiom until it yields unexpected forms. Mokai's signature fingerpicking is eerie and spell-binding on the title track, then warm and comfortable on the instrumental solo guitar pieces, and on newly arranged traditional tunes.
The album's lighter moments are balanced by a bluesman's unflinching look at the state of the world and the struggle of the modern individual. The inspired production from engineer and acoustic bassist Jon Evans (Tori Amos) conveys this outsider musician's deeply honest perspective with cinematic sonic settings.
With lovingly recorded acoustic instruments, powerful ensemble playing from the supporting musicians, and inspiration from the artist's own path, his edgy originals honor the songwriter's craft, traveling on classy, relaxed vocals that have nothing to prove.
Mokai’s sound can best be compared to other current Americana players who have a singer/songwriter side, such as Kelly Joe Phelps and David Jacob Strain. His original guitar style echoes his life-long love affair with the playing of seminal bluesmen like Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Blake and Dave Van Ronk.
He has moods reminiscent of classic songwriters like John Prine and Townes Van Zandt, with something raw in the lyrics and vocals that shows he means it. Intended mostly for acoustic music lovers, Mokai’s songs fit into the bigger picture alongside those of Dylan and Springsteen.