Years back I was working on some turnaround ideas when I wrote “Slippery Slack Key.”Also known as the “Slippery Fish Slack Key,” this is a fast paced and fun to play slack key song that saw various incarnations in my set a few years back.The slippery runs were inspired in part by the fish in the waters off Kailua-Kona.Kona’s world famous fishing was also brought to mind frequently by my landlord at the time I wrote this song, a local fish boat captain named Chuck.Hope you enjoy.
For your listening pleasure here is a collection of Ki Ho’alu a/k/a Hawaiian Slack Key guitar instrumentals. This compilation includes both energetic and relaxed tunes, though I’d say the overall vibe is relaxing.I like to listen tosome of those longer “relaxing music” videos while working on the computer and became inspired to produce some videos featuring my own performances.Hope you enjoy.
Here is a song I wrote years back called ‘Saddle Up! Slack Key.’It pays tribute to Hawaii’s unique Paniolo cowboy culture, including the beautiful Pa’u riders I would see at the Kona Coffee Festival Parade among other events. Hope you enjoy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is my cover of “Mauna Loa Slack Key,” one of the relatively few surviving original songs from legendary slack key kupuna Fred Punahoa.Though “Uncle” Fred never made a full album, he did make a notable appearance on the Waimea Music Festival album which features Mauna Loa Slack Key along with another of Fred’s originals, “Punahoa Special.”Uncle Fred’s legacy also includes fostering amazing Big Island talents of the next generation such as Ledward Ka’apana and Sonny Lim.Like the Punahoa Special, Mauna Loa Slack Key is an often covered song in the slack key world.Hope you enjoy.
Here’s a recently found cover I did of Leonard Kwan’s signature tune, Opihi Moe Moe. One of the most popular songs in the slack key repetoire, this song has been covered perhaps most prominently by Led Kaapana; in fact, Chet Atkins even recorded a version after hearing it from Leonard on a visit to Hawai’i. Notably, Leonard himself recorded several versions of this song including variations such as Opihi Bounce. Opihi Moe Moe is a fun song to play that lends itself to little variations, and everyone seems to bring something different to this deceptively simple song. Hope you enjoy.