Today’s tune from the vaults is a recording of a slack key song I wrote and called “Kailua Bay Blues.” I spent a lot of time as a kid swimming in the waters of historic and majestic Kailua Bay, the waterfront area of ‘downtown’ Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The bay is surrounded by historic residences once occupied by the Hawaiian Monarchy, hotels, restaurants, and usually someone fishing off the seawall. The area also hosts the swim and finish line for the Ironman World Championship triathlon. The waters of Kailua Bay, as well as the sky above, can have many different shades of blue – thus a double meaning for this bluesy slack key song’s title. Hope you enjoy.
Today’s song from the vaults, “Waimea Ride,” is a slack key improvisation that blossoms from a familiar type of descending figure.Though often used as part of a turnaround, this type of walk down has also been featured as a melodic device in a number of songs, most notably Leonard Kwan’s classic signature tune Opihi Moe Moe. I also recall Ozzie Kotani using it in some of his songs.Anyway, I thought the descending figure and overall pace of this improv might evoke the picture of a Paniolo riding downslope on horseback, ergo the title.Hope you enjoy.
Here is an improvisation I did based on Leonard Kwan’s famous slack key arrangement of “Silver Threads Among the Gold.” This classic tune is a popular piece in the slack key repertoire and often one of the first things people learn when exploring Drop C tuning. Most listeners of modern day Hawaii radio will recognize Silver Threads as the slack key passage quoted in the intro to Country Comfort’s Waimanalo Blues, a beloved song in the islands in its own right. Hope you enjoy.
Here is an original slack key song I named for Kaiminani Drive in Kalaoa, North Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Kaiminani Drive is a main mauka-makai road that connects the Queen Kaahumanu and Mamalahoa highways (lower and upper roads, respectively). It also runs through the Kona Palisades neighborhood where I lived for a number of years as a child. Back then, the neighborhood was less developed, and my friends and I would build tree houses and play in the vacant lots. We could also watch the planes come and go at Kona International Airport at Keahole Point (KOA), and had easy access to then-uncrowded OTEC (Wawaloli) and Pine Trees (Kohanaiki) beaches. Hope you enjoy.
“Moment in the Sun” and it’s companion song “Crossing the Field” were recorded as a pair of songs to set the stage for the second half of my “Awake Again” album. Following the dramatic strumming of “Make” that closed the first half of the album, “Moment” & “Field” frame the mellower vibe of the album’s remaining songs. Hope you enjoy.
This short piece was recorded to provide a final track for my “Awake Again” project. The outro echoes the intro’s use of harmonics and changing of the guitar’s tuning during the piece. It’s short, but provides a few sweet phrases to close the album. Hope you enjoy.
This is another improvisatory piece recorded for my “Awake Again” project, which included a handful of songs that were connected by mostly shorter and improvisatory ‘transitions’ such as this. Hope you enjoy.
Bull by the Horns is a longer folk fingerpicking piece from my “Awake Again” project. I don’t often use a capo, but sometimes it’s nice to have that bright, chimey sound and snappy playability you get from moving up the neck. Hope you enjoy.