With Jake Shimabukuro’s new release Grand Ukulele: Live In Boulder; ukuleles are not for Don Ho singing Tiny Bubbles or Tiny Tim tip toe-ing through the tulips anymore. Thank Goddess of Fire Pele! The ukulele being In the same vein as the Lower 48’s accordion as a stereotyped instrument that can’t possible grab one’s attention for long; is not only for the Big Island anymore.
Music is a ubiquitous part of my life because it has the power to make it better. On countless occasions, it has demonstrated the ability to rejuvenate me when I’m sapped of energy and to will me out of a funk when I’m frustrated or down in the dumps. It even has the power to enliven my spirits for weeks without even yet being heard – anyone who lives for the music knows what it’s like to anticipate a show weeks, or even months, ahead of time.
The smiles come on strong instantly with the beginning of this album entertaining the possibility of dinner with alien visitors in “The Martians”. It keeps up the pace exclaiming the obvious in “Epic Action” as the alien visitation is unfolding.
Here we have—singer-songwriter Todd Snider (usually a solo fellow) and bassist Dave Schools (Widespread Panic) leading the charge, Neal Casal (guitarist for Ryan Adams, Chris Robinson); Chad Staehly (of Great American Taxi) on keys, and King Lincoln drummer Duane Trucks (nephew of Butch Trucks, who worked the set for the Allman Brothers, if you want a reach of a tie-in)—the
Musicians that decide to go the solo route, all by their looooooooooooooonesome, are deserving of respect just for the sake of displaying the confidence it takes to share their creativity and talents to make good things happen. Solo acts have to deal with huge expectations ranging from thousands of folks in a big venue looking to catch the best version ever of their favorite songs or simply being the focus of fifteen people in a small club with strings of Christmas lights as the stage lighting.
If the Colorado Bluegrass Community wasn’t already tried as strong, this month represented a milestone for community support. Last month’s “100 Year Flood” damaged and displaced thousands in Boulder County. The worst was the devastation in Lyons, Colorado, home of the Planet Bluegrass Ranch and much of the Colorado Music Roots community. The Ranch hosts at least two huge annual festivals onsite that after 40 years of legendary performances have built a loyal following of devotees nationwide.
We are a community of audiophiles who understand the intrinsic value of live music to a point that we have been known to base large chunks of our free time around chasing the perfect show. And yet, how many bands that we see as the cream of the jamband scene were exposed to us through live recordings? Sure, we all had bootlegs in college, but I am sure that most of you started in high school with ‘Skeletons in The Closet’ from Columbia House just like I did.