The blues and R&B tinged rock band KALO, a two-time IBC participant, formed in 2012 after Israeli-born guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Bat-Or Kalo took a long road to Oklahoma. For Bat-Or, everything started with a Jimi Hendrix cassette tape and a gift of an electric guitar that put her on a musical course. Her artistic family encouraged her to follow an artist’s path. So she did.
Following high school, Bat-Or, like most Israelis her age, joined the Israeli Defense Forces for two years. After completing her service, Bat-Or enrolled in college to study music. She moved to the U.S. in 2004 to study guitar at Oklahoma City University.
After graduation, Bat-Or returned to Israel and, in 2009, released her first album, Flesh and Bones, recorded at Bardo Recording Studios near Tel Aviv. With the finished copy of the album in hand, an inspired Bat-Or followed her dream and moved to New York City, where she honed her skills as a musician. She started writing “Goodbye,” a song for her second album, while walking the Williamsburg Bridge, a suspension bridge spanning the East River and connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Brooklyn.
As the seeds of what would become her sophomore album began taking root, Bat-Or traveled to Mississippi in 2012 to write and create in a part of the country that had always inspired her music. There, she immersed herself in the sounds and styles of Dixie and the Delta. Synchronicity worked its magic and connected Bat-Or with bassist Mack McKinney for a southern states tour. The two had first met while Bat-Or was at Oklahoma City University as a student. Bat-Or and McKinney then began working on the album Dear John, which was released in October 2013. For live shows, friend Erick Worrell was brought in to complete the trio, a welcome addition, as he’d also played with Bat-Or and McKinney previously.
KALO plays frequently throughout the Heartland and is working on a third studio album. Bat-Or’s unique history lends to a distinctive sound that’s beguiled audiences from Oklahoma City to New York, Austin to Mississippi, and many places in between. And with McKinney on bass rounding out the rhythm section, the sound is genre bending and infectious. McKinney’s solid playing and backing vocals make him an important part of KALO. Erick Worrell, an Oklahoma City native, stepped out of the role of primary drummer in 2014, but his sound and contributions continue to influence KALO’s live recordings and performances. Mike Alexander took on the role of primary drummer in 2015.