Sagol 59 & Ami Yares: The Promised Land
Legend has it that the Grateful Dead nearly booked a gig atop a floating stage on the Dead Sea. With the release of The Promised Land, a collection of the band’s outlaw anthems and ballads superbly translated into Hebrew, that cloudy dream is a bit less unreal. The result of a two-year collaboration between Israeli hip-hop OG Sagol 59 and Ami Yares, a Philly-based Americana porch-stomper, the duo’s debut is both nostalgic and visionary. However, this ain’t about the jams (though firmamental glimpses appear in the “Dark Moon”/“Bright Star” bookends) and the covers never meander far from the trail (minus an oud solo in “I Know You Rider”). Whether sung over the punch-bright organ of “New Minglewood Blues,” harkening to the Dead’s pizza-parlor days or to the low-moaning gnarl of “Loser,” this album is a text posing a question: What if the Dead had made it to the Promised Land after all?