Posts

Ben Carr's New CD: A River's View of Sunrise

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On Meeting Ben Carr... When i first met Ben Carr a few years back, i was immediately impressed with his style and humble demeanor. He had just finished a really cool set of  instrumentals that ran the gamut from down-home fiddle tune-esq, to finger picking  bluesy stuff as well as highly percussive-alternate tuned, groove based jams.
It was obvious to me that Ben had a very wide range of influences and the  sincerity of his approach came off as very authentic at time when 10,000 guitar  inspired posers are plying their trade on the ukulele. 
A Wee Bit About This Lad... Ben grew up in the farm-laden, Philadelphia suburbs blowing an alto-sax, which was soon supplanted by
bongos and a full drum set.

After stints in numerous east coast bands and a foray
into full-time music hood a la New Orleans, Ben
finally relocated to Southern Vermont where he currently resides with his family.
As a certified graduate of James Hill's Ukulele Initiative, Ben is presently a full time ukulele instruct…

The 50 Best Songs of Hawaii

Lets just be honest here.

All too often,  mainlanders who've taken up the
ukulele have little working knowledge of Hawaiian musical traditions.

I know this is a blanket statement and some of you might balk at just a generalization.

But....in my 20 years of riding the ukulele wave, traversing America's highways
and byways, upwards of 40,000 miles a year

Here's what i conclude....

There are many on the mainland who regularly visit Hawaii,
and many who are from Hawaii, as well as some who simply love Hawaiian music
and in doing their homework, have gone much deeper then Jake, Ohta and Iz.

But the sad reality is that unless you're a member of the Santa Cruz Ukulele or
some coastal area that attracts touring Hawaiian artists, chances are you're
scratching your head wondering where to begin, whence seeking out Hawaiian
music in all its breadth and glory.

That's why i am sharing this link to a fabulous list of 50 of the greatest Hawaiian songs
of all time.

Here's…

Jake's Pedal Set Up

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If any of you have ever wondered how Jake gets that amazing wall of sound out of
a single ukulele, the following video posted on REVERB.COM will be quite insightful.

The typical player will almost always have a reverb pedal and a delay, those two are a must.

However.....
Jake elaborates on his addition of a Tube Dreamer, Octave Pedal, Volume Pedal and
Looping effects.

His set-up no doubt is the result of 100's if not 1000's of hours of experimentation with
electronic pedals, in his quest for the perfect tone / sound. The most inventive players
all seem to have this obsessive drive in common when it comes to trying out
the greatest and latest gear.

Like his guitar playing contemporaries, the use of pedals helps him create a sonic
palette that is quite diverse in its range of dynamics from great big rich chords on the
octave pedal to volume manipulation on his Hilton Volume Pedal....there's a wide
variety of effects being used in his on stage shows to great success, especial…

Dan Scanlan's New "Cool Hand" Soprano Uke

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I've known Dan Scanlan for almost 20 years now....

I have had the pleasure of working alongside him in Nova Scotia at the Ceilidh, as well as at countless festivals across the U.S. 
In a sea of posers, I have long championed Dan as the "real deal," and he's why... his heart is so undeniably rooted in all things ukulele and he's paid his toll after decades  of championing the ukulele (and long before it was cool).
He is unassuming, down to earth, salt of the earth, a consummate ukulele historian,  and a strong player with a unique style all his own. 
Its these things and more, that keep me interested in what my pal Dan is up to ukulele-wise.
Recently, he has begun promoting a new line of ukulele's with his signature "Cool Hand Uke" model. 
What follows is a short interview with him. 
1-Tell us about your ukulele responsibilities these days? What are you involved with in terms of clubs, festivals, teaching, etc.
I continue to direct and teach Cool Hand …

Teaching @ Elderly Instruments in March

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After a long hiatus, I'll be heading back to Michigan to teach a few classes
at Elderly Instruments (https://www.elderly.com ) in Lansing.

It was way back in the mid-90's that Elderly took a big chance on a little known
record called Uke Town,which was my first real attempt to feature a mess'o
ukulele on wax.

Thanks in part to long time employees at Elderly like Chris Rietz,
Brian Hefferan, Stan Werbin, Libby and a few others, the store began to play my
CD in store alot, which led to new fans, gigs and a very appreciate musician...Lil Rev!

In 1996, that same year, they also featured my Uke Townhttps://www.lilrev.com/cd-uke-town
as a "HOT PLATTER, in their mail order catalogue, which also boosted sales and encourage
me to make a full length, "all" ukulele record (the fountain of uke series).

I've always felt a huge debt of gratitude to Elderly and their dedicated staff
for recognizing that the ukulele was coming back (way ahead of the national curve)
and …

Lil Rev's 2016 CD release: Claw & Hammer Liner Notes

Notes On The Making of My New Claw & Hammer CD

The Idea: In the early winter months of 2016, after an nearly unbearable 2015, i decided i'd focus my  mind on something positive whilst my daughter and i whiled away the cold,  dark winter months that proceded Carol's passing. 
To that end, i determined that a new recording project might be  just the ticket! 
Having endured a treacherous year of illness, depression, and  near death myself (stung by a black wasp and went into Anaphylaxis shock),  i needed this project to be light, fun and easy.  
Given this, I pulled out a list of tunes i'd been compiling over the last couple of years;  mostly early country, folk and pre-bluegrass type stuff that i aimed to record  with a claw-hammer bent to them. 
About My Claw-Hammer Roots: 

My love of banjo playing was mostly inspired by backing up my longtime
music pal John Nicholson of Frogwater. John is an incredible player and
over the years i grew to love old time banjo mostly thru b…

Sugar Babe Blues in Wall, SD

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This summer i am traveling with my daughter Mariela Rose and my

girlfriend Jenna Lynn on a summer tour of the west coast.



We are stopping in: WA, OR, CA to teach and perform ukulele.



The route west will take us thru Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming,

Montana and finally Washington. This western experience is at the heart

of what i love about being on the road....big open sky, horses, cattle,

rusted cars, broken fences, tiny ma and pop cafes, black coffee, bonding

time with family and friends, and lots of jamming and practicing time

as we traverse from town to town.



While in Wall, South Dakota the following video was shot:



Morning Coffee, Just Picking some tunes, rehearsing for my tour.

There's a whole slew of tunes i never perform on stage, just things i like

to play when i am at home on the porch. That's what i was doing

playing Sugar Babe, when Jenna turned on the video and caught me

rocking out.



I first heard this played by Mance Lipscomb of Texas, via an old Arhoolie

recor…