Here is an alternate take of “Makalawena,” an original song I named after a charmingly beautiful and relatively isolated beach on the Kona Coast.Makalawena is part of that long stretch of white sandy beaches you see right before landing at Kona International Airport at nearby Keahole Point.The beach is generally accessible via a short hike from the neighboring Mahaiʻula Bay section of Kekaha Kai State Park.I remember camping out at Makalawena as a kid, exploring the rare anchialine ponds with their delicate red shrimp, and swimming in the waters of the bay.Today still, the neighboring marsh is a protected nesting ground, home to rare birds such as the Hawaiian coot.The song’s bridge seems to capture the strange sense of converging energies that I feel in special places such as these.Hope you enjoy.
Here is a remix 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.
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.
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 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.
Momentum is an original I’ve been playing for a while.Over the years, I have added different bridges and changed the intro at times, but at its core the song remains the same. This version has a new bridge and was recorded on my Taylor K22ce.
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.
Bron-Yr-Aur is probably my favorite Led Zeppelin acoustic song.Written about a tranquil cottage in the Welsh countryside, the song is meditative and bucolic; it always puts me in a different place whenever I hear it or play it.This version was recorded on my Taylor 912ce.