Tuesday, March 27, 2007

RISA Crystal'Ellie

I've been doing some design work for Shane Co. of late. (If you don't have one of their stores in your area, they're a terrific retail jeweler, perhaps best known for the radio commercials done by Tom Shane, the company's founder, if not for Tom's memorable voice itself.)

Tom's a really great guy, and so I was thinking, maybe I should design a Shane Co. ukulele for him the way I did the Dairy Queen uke for Warren Buffett (who, coincidentally, also owns a jewelery store). Too late, I guess, as it seems that RISA's Rigk Saur has beaten me to the punch. Link

Ah, Spring!

Only a week into Spring, and already the ukulele trees have burst into blossom. Link

Friday, March 23, 2007

He's not MY uncle.

Boston singer/banjo/ukulele player Matt Samolis, a.k.a. Uncle Shoe, has a new CD out called Same Old Moon. And, damn, it’s hot. Or cold. Check out the tune “My Chilly Baby” on his MySpace page….
go listen.

...and, if you want to hear him live (with flute maven Peter Bloom) he'll be playing tomorrow night at the 25th Ukulele Noir in Lowell Mass.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Birds and girls go there

Johanna Wright, artist/singer/ukulele player (sounds like a baritone to me), powers this band from Portland, Oregon. How would I describe them? Well, they say “kids books + ukulele + muscle + stories + Oregon + armpits + Brooklyn + foot stomping = Hanner!”

I can’t stop listening to the song “birds and girls”...spooky and lovely. Disturbing. My kind of music.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

When the Muse moves you...

Rabbit Muse Tide, one of Roanoke’s most beloved performers can still be heard on CD and on the Internet.
“Muse was black, the rest of the Tides were white. Although he appeared with the Tides only a few times — never on television — Muse was a popular entertainer who sang, played the ukulele, danced and told tall tales for two generations of fans of all colors. His mix of blues, country and pop standards made him a radio and festival favorite for six decades.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of his death, but his voice and music can still be heard on CD and on the Internet.”


Friday, March 16, 2007

It's bigger than both of us

So I’m stumblin’ around Ukuleletown and I find myself in a strange part of the city…a huge paved parkinglot, deserted at this time of night. An immense bunker-like building looms in the distance against a field of stars. Monolithic.


Listen to John W. Rockwell waxing lyrical about this business behemoth on “American Hypocrite at Wal-Mart”

Stream: American Hypocrite at Wal-Mart

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The King of France

Lookin’ for a new ukulele hero? How ‘bout one you may have overlooked? Bertrand, who runs the French ukulele site King David Ukulele Station, has been putting up marvelous instrumental videos for a while now. His version of “Egyptian Ella” is on my top ten list. Watch all his videos and be humbled.

watch this now!.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A ukulele, a bite to eat and a place to sleep…

British luthier Martin Cole not only makes lovely musical instruments, but can put you up at a great Bed and Breakfast (Jay’s Barn, run by his wife) when you go to Cornwall to pick it up.

Plus, dammit, he has the right attitude about our favorite instrument:
“…the Ukulele can deliver a delightful sound when treated with respect.”


Friday, March 09, 2007

Win Great Ukuleles!

Here it is...hot off the grill:

Thanks to the generosity and spirit of Aloha that goes along with all things ukulele, some generous leaders of the ukulele community are donating some exquisite ‘ukulele to be raffled off as part of New York Uke Fest. The money will be used to reduce the financial deficit of NY Uke Fest.

KoAloha Concert link
KoAloha Soprano link
donated by the Okami family and KoAloha Ukulele Company

Kanilea link K-1 curly koa concert ‘ukulele, donated by the amazing Michael Aratani, Music Guy Mic

A build-your-own ukulele kit, donated by luthier Peter Howlett

A Fluke and a Flea, donated by Dale Webb and the Magic Fluke Company

We expect to add more prizes and will announce them as the list increases.

There will be one raffle drawing at 9pm Sunday, April 29, on the Festival main stage.

All the Prize ‘Ukuleles Will Be Awarded

Raffle tickets available at the Fest for $5 each, 5 tix for $20.

For further info, please email ukejackson1(at) yahoo(dot)com with the words UKULELE RAFFLE in caps in the Subject line.

In addition, Fluke, Flea, Kolohe, KaLa, and other ukes will be given away as door prizes. At least 2 ukes will be door awarded as door prizes at every concert.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Overheard in the Ukuleletown school yard...

Hey, Tony, did I see you with a “B-ja” Bigiarini trading card? I’ll give you two Ciffies and a Marvin for it??? Huh? Com’on….

The Italian Ukulele Committee.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Feeling good is good enough for me

Have you heard the Bobby McGees?
Go listen right now.
They do a song called “Please Don’t Dump Me”
I can’t stop listening to this song.

this is their li’l bit o’ heaven on MySpace.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ukulele Garden Art

Just how the heck did we miss this? Gila Connection is selling an astounding selection of uke-themed art on CafePress. There seems to be some connection with Alternate Tunings Ukulule. Aren't these amazing? Oooh, and there's a wall calendar that contains all the prints!

Lots of other swell ukulele stuff on CafePress, too, including Ukulelia merch. Link

Shag Ukulele Wahini Sticker

Neato! Sticker Giant has loads of swell Shag stickers for sale, including this cutie. The site includes links so you can print the art for your tattoo artist's reference, too! All they ask is that (on the honor system) you buy a sticker to support the company and the artist. I think that's only fair.

I don't have any tattoos, but I wonder if since I'm a Shriner, my wife would let me get this one. Link

William H. Macy on Oprah

This week, the Oprah Show re-ran an appearance by the stars of the new movie Wild Hogs, in which uke enthusiast (and occasional actor) William H. Macy played his Flea Ukulele and sang a song skewering his co-stars while being humbly honest about himself. According to the fine folks over on the Fleamarket Music Bulletin Board, the ditty was composed by none other than Jumpin' Jim Beloff hisself.

Will the uke's appearance lead to Oprah's Uke Club? No announcement has been made. In the meantime, we all wait in rapt anticipation. Link

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Short Month Ukuleles

There is no Spring in Ukuleletown. Not this early in the year. Dirty, trodden snow still lines the slippery sidewalks and the sky is usually leaden. Pregnant with precipitation.

A good day to stay inside, drink beer and play ukuleles. Fellow Noiristas Tim Mann and Greg Hawkes showed up just before Robert Wheeler pulled up to the Noir Manor in his black VW convertible; his coat wrapped around him like a new wife and the convertible top down.

Much drinking and singing and passing back and forth of ukuleles ensued. My favorite of them all? Why, the Elias Howe Superbo soprano, it was delicious!

From the Founder’s collection:
left to right ... Weymann (20's), Superbo- Elias Howe, Boston 20's, Gibson 50's, Gibson (The Gibson logo) late 20's ---- top Vega A.Godfrey - Deluxe 50's --- all, strangely enough, mahogany.

New acquisitions by Greg Hawkes: a 50s Martin Baritone and a new Kamaka soprano

Tim Mann’s little lovely: a 50s Regal Victory soprano in red, white and blue!

A Venerable Venue

Ukulele Noir 23 was held at the historic Bull Run Tavern in Shirley, Mass. on February 17, ’07. You can see some videos from the performance at the Ukulele Noir website.
click here to go there.
The Bull Run has been around since 1740. How did it get it’s name??
“Upon one occasion, during the War Between the States (Civil War), the stage brought news that in the Battle of Bull Run all was not going well for the North. An argument ensued in the Taproom. In those days a lusty brawl was great sport for all, and when the scuffling had ended, lo!, no one was left on his feet save the burly bartender!
A late comer opened the door and asked, "What news of the battle? " To which the bartender is reputed to have replied, "We just fought the Battle of Bull Run right here! "
Thus was born the present name for the old tavern, for the town wag, amused by the story, the next day painted the words "BULL RUN" on a sign board and hung it over the bar. The name caught on and has lasted to the present day.”
Our kinda place.
The Bull Run Link.
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