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.
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 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.
I fell in love with the Pablo Casals recordings of the Bach cello suites a few years back. The prelude to the first suite is oft adapted for guitar, but it’s still a great piece to play. Hope you enjoy.
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.
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.
Recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 10/11/07.
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.