Category Archives: Songs

Harvest Moon (alternate take)

Here is an alternate take of my fingerstyle arrangement of Harvest Moon, the titular song from the great early 90’s Neil Young album.  In era when some of his peers were merely coasting along, Neil was doing some of his best work.  Hope you enjoy.

Awake Again

“Awake Again” is an unfinished project I started working on in in early 2009 and only recently revisited. Now, assembled here together for the first time since it was recorded, the music in this playlist brings the project to a conclusion of sorts.

This music here was recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, on 11 different dates ranging from 2/14/09 through 6/20/09.  Rather than a finished product this is the complete ‘first draft,’ comprised of the best recordings from that time in the order I had envisioned for the completed project.  Hope you enjoy.

Track List:
1 – Intro 6/13/09
2 – Dust Yourself Off 2/24/09
3 – Ohio River Rag 3/1/09
4 – Transition I 3/1/09
5 – Straight Ahead Blues 2/26/09
6 – Hand Dancing 6/20/09
7 – Home Abroad 3/18/09
8 – Make 3/19/09
9 – Moment in the Sun 4/20/09
10 – Crossing the Field 4/20/09
11 – Morning and Night 6/20/09
12 – Brownsboro Road 4/20/09
13 – Bull By the Horns 2/14/09
14 – Kona Snow 6/20/09
15 – Transition One 3/16/09
16 – Momentum 6/8/09
17 – Outro 6/20/09

Kuakini Slack Key

Here is a demo of a song called Kuakini Slack Key, named after Kuakini Highway (which was in turn named after former governor of Hawai’i island and builder of Hulihe’e Palace, John Adams Kuakini).  I wrote this in a friends’ condo which was off Kuakini, not far from Palani Road and the Kailua pier.  As a kid, I also lived for several years in a home farther south that was just off Kuakini. 

This is one of the few recordings done with a Larrivee parlor guitar I used to own – a rosewood / spruce P-09, which I have since sold.  There’s also a fun little manual fade at the end.  Hope you enjoy.

 

Punahoa Special

Today’s song is the joyful “Punahoa Special,” a signature showpiece of legendary slack key master Fred Punahoa.  This is a song I was fortunate enough to learn directly from Led Ka’apana, one that Led had in turn learned directly from Fred himself.  Though Fred Punahoa never made a full album under his own name, he did make a notable appearance on the Waimea Music Festival album in addition to fostering amazing talents of the next generation such as Led and Sonny Lim.  “Punahoa Special” is an often covered song in the slack key canon, and might also be the most popular song in Mauna Loa slack key tuning.  Hope you enjoy.

 

Hilo Rag (alt take)

Here is an alternate take of Dennis Kamakahi’s song, “Hilo Rag.”  This is a super fun song to play and one of my favorites from Dennis Kamakahi’s oeuvre.  Better known for lyrical songs like Koke’e, Hilo Rag makes me wish I heard more of Dennis’s instrumental work.  Hope you enjoy.

 

Banyan (Alternate Take)

Here is an alternate take of my song “Banyan” (a/k/a “Banyans,” or “Banyan Tree Slack Key”), a slack key style song I wrote years ago on nylon string guitar.  I used to play my gut string ‘beach’ guitar (an old Ibanez) around beaches and surf spots in Kona like Magic Sands, Banyans, and Old Airport.  So I guess this song is partially named after the surf spot, but also after some banyan trees near Magic Sands – some of which have since been cut down – or even majestic banyan trees in general.  Hope you enjoy.

 

Jewel Ponds

This improvisation is named for the beautiful anchialine ponds you find along the leeward coast of Hawai’i Island.  These ponds are an ultra rare and pristine habitat (please do not bathe in them) that host rare tiny red shrimp – ‘ōpae ‘ula – and can have a magnificent array of turquoise and opaline colors, like jewels.  Some of these ponds are tiny indeed, almost more of a puddle than a pond, and legends tell of ponds that would mysteriously appear to someone only to vanish when visited again.  There can be no denying the strange, quiet magic of Hawai’i’s  anchialine ponds.

Ki Ho’alu

Here’s my take on Gabby Pahinui’s classic instrumental simply and appropriately titled “Ki Ho’alu,” which is course is the Hawaiian term for “slack key.”  I probably first heard this song on the stellar “Pure Gabby” album – a must own – although it has appeared on other compilations and been covered by numerous slack key artists, including Ozzie Kotani’s excellent version.  My version is inspired by Gabby, Ozzie, and also Dennis Kamakahi who was prolific in the Mauna Loa tuning.