All posts by Nick

Dust Yourself Off

Dust Yourself Off is a slack key influenced fingerstyle song from my Awake Again project. I hear the song as imbued with a sense of renewal and starting a new journey. This was to be the first full length song in the setlist, preceded by only a brief instrumental introduction. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 2/24/09

Wonderful Tonight (Alternate Take)

Here is an alternate take of my fingerstyle rendition of Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight. Eric wrote the song about his then-wife Pattie Boyd, who had already inspired great songs from Eric and previous husband George Harrison. This song has been the theme to many a high school prom, and its simple yet tasteful melody has held up over the years. In keeping with that, my arrangement here is fairly straight forward: it doesn’t move around the neck very much or have any unusual chord voicings. Hope you enjoy it.

Recorded in Honolulu, Hawaii 4/27/15.

Greasy Strut (Electric Guitar Demo)

Here’s a demo of a song I wrote eons ago called “Greasy Strut.” Probably recorded around 2003-04, featuring a Fender Jimmie Vaughan Stratocaster, possibly also a Peavey T-25. Had forgotten about this one; recently found the song while cleaning out an old hard drive. Not really the kind of music I’m playing these days, but it was fun to hear that harmony part again. Hope you enjoy.

Momentum (6/8/09)

Momentum was a song I wrote not long after moving back to Kailua-Kona after being away for a while. Alternately titled “Rolling Waves,” I have added different bridges and changed the intro at times, but the core of the song remains the same. This version was recorded as a demo for my “Awake Again” project. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 6/8/09.

Introduction from Awake Again (6/13/09)

This was the introduction to a set of songs I was working on a while back. The working title of the project was “Awake Again”, and the idea was to have a set of songs songs that were connected by mostly shorter and improvisatory ‘transitions’, including both an introduction preceding the set and an outro at the end. I wanted the introduction to convey a sense that you were transitioning into listening mode and set the stage for the music to come. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 6/13/09.

Embryonic Journey (Jorma Kaukonen / Jefferson Airplane)

From the uber psychedelically titled Surrealistic Pillow album, Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen’s solo fingerpicking tour de force Embryonic Journey highlights his country blues influences and provides a rootsy counterpoint to far out songs like White Rabbit.  Though I don’t listen much to the rest of the album, Embryonic Journey stayed on rotation in my car for a number of years – sometimes when I was in the mood I would listen on repeat four or five times in a row.  It seems like this song was often playing when I was cutting over from Waialae to cruise on down Kapahulu, stopping for groceries at Kokua Co-op or Down To Earth Moiliili, or hanging out at Kapi’olani Park.  Hope you enjoy.

Perfect & Beautiful

One day in the fall of 2012, I sat down to record a set of improvised songs with a Taylor dreadnought acoustic guitar. I improvised five original songs and two versions of Amazing Grace. With only one or two false starts, they were mostly first takes. The set was nothing really mind altering, but it had some cool songs with good vibes – so I considered it a success. It’s not the kind of thing I do often – in fact I haven’t done the exercise since, haven’t played any of the original songs again, and don’t consider it the most incredible thing I’ve ever done. Yet somehow it stands out in my mind as a creative milestone, a memorable event. Sometimes it’s important to break out of the mold with such experiments to reach a new frame of mind, a new level. This was the fourth song in the set, which I dubbed “Perfect & Beautiful.”

Recorded in Louisville, Kentucky, 9/29/12.

Electric 1 (Demo)

One day in the fall of 2012, I sat down to record a set of improvised songs with a Taylor dreadnought acoustic guitar. I improvised five original songs and two versions of Amazing Grace. With only one or two false starts, they were mostly first takes. The set was nothing really mind altering, but it had some cool songs with good vibes – so I considered it a success. It’s not the kind of thing I do often – in fact I haven’t done the exercise since, haven’t played any of the original songs again, and don’t consider it the most incredible thing I’ve ever done. Yet somehow it stands out in my mind as a creative milestone, a memorable event. Sometimes it’s important to break out of the mold with such experiments to reach a new frame of mind, a new level. This was the fourth song in the set, which I dubbed “Electric 1.”

Recorded in Louisville, Kentucky, 9/29/12.

Punahoa Special (Live at Hawaii Island Slack Key Festival)

Here is a live version of “Punahoa Special” from 2007 (apologies for the camera work :-). This is a song I was fortunate enough to learn directly from Led Ka’apana, one that Led had in turn learned directly from his uncle Fred Punahoa. Though Fred never made a full album, he did make a notable appearance on the Waimea Music Festival album and fostered amazing talents of the next generation such as Led and Sonny Lim. This is an often covered song in the slack key world, and might also be the most popular song in Mauna Loa slack key tuning. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded live at the 25th Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival “Kona Style,” at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort in Keauhou, Hawai’i 9/2/07.