Rav Shmuel on Saturday Night, March 10th at Jewlicious Festival

The Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Rav Shmuel’s solo debut is an immediately likable bit of good-humored anti-folk that doesn’t require the visuals — or even the knowledge that, yes, Rav Shmuel really is a Hasidic rabbi — to get across. Musically reminiscent of everyone from Barenaked Ladies (Rav Shmuel has a certain vocal resemblance to Steven Page) to Jack Johnson to the Moldy Peaches’ Adam Green, Protocols is a likably shaggy folk-pop record filled with catchy acoustic guitar-based tunes and thoughtful but not hectoring lyrics. “Fatherland” is the most overtly spiritual song, with lyrics that question faith, but only in the same way that a devoted Star Wars fan will debate the specifics of whether Han or Greedo shot first. In other words, this is not a heavy record by any means, nor is it thematically forbidding for Gentiles. Much like the old slogan for Levy’s Rye Bread used to say, you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy Rav Shmuel, but a fondness for laid-back, AAA folk-rock sure helps. (Also, extra points for the gutsy Elders of Zion joke implied in the title.) ~ Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

Rav Shmuel will be joined by the amazing band The Bloodsugars from New York! You can see their own video here on YouTube.

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Rabbi Yonah