Here’s an alternate take of Keola Beamer’s Mino’aka (Smile), from his awesome Soliloquy album. Soliloquy is one of my favorite Dancing Cat era albums from Keola and a highly recommended listen. Keola’s book is one of the first I picked up when I really delved into the slack key style years ago, and this was one of my favorite songs featured in the book. In fact, I also recommend Keola’s book for beginner to intermediate fingerstyle players who are looking to learn some slack key. Although the version I recorded here is at a slightly faster tempo, I hope it still captures the original’s relaxed feel. Hope you enjoy.
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.
Demo recording of original song Bumble Bee Slack Key, inspired in part by the nalo meli, honey bees buzzing about their business.I wanted a song that was both lively and mellow and think I achieved it.Hope you enjoy.
“Green Tea” is a fingerstyle improvisation based on the idea of toying with certain oft used open tuning tropes and seeing how they could be morphed. Listening back, I enjoy the sound of the dreadnaught guitar I recorded it on, even though I have been using predominantly smaller bodied guitars for the last 4-5 years or so. While small bodied guitars have a great balance that is perfect for many situations, sometimes there’s just something nice about the sound of a big boomy acoustic box. Hope you enjoy.
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.
Here is an alternate take of Moonglow, a song I wrote years ago while sitting outside under a full moon. I’ve played it on and off for years, most always on steel string guitar. More recently I tried it on nylon and found it worked quite well – perhaps even better. Hope you enjoy.
Here is another take of my original fingerstyle song, Morning and Night. I like this version because you can hear it breathe, with overtones blending and blooming between musical phrases. 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.