Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Tiple and Slack Key – Duets with Ledward Kaapana

The Martin tiple is an unusual instrument, but one that turns up in some surprising places. In addition to blues and vaudeville, the tiple made its way into Hawaiian music. Ledward Kaapana tells me that one of his aunties used a tiple as her instrument at their legendary Kalapana parties. My Wai`ehu Sons album has a cover picture of Sheldon Brown with his tiple and the sound is prominent on the recording. And Ry Cooder used the tiple as his instrument when he recorded with the Gabby Pahinui Band.

I found a tiple on Ebay and got Led to play it, but at the time it had terrible action, almost no saddle, and worn out frets. Since then I had the instrument rebuilt with a neck reset, new frets, and a new saddle, and the result was lovely. And Led has been having a lot of fun working up different approaches to the tiple, using his virtuoso knowledge of the `ukulele and his deep musicality to pull out some wonderful arrangements. (more…)


Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Na Lei O Hawai`i (Song of the Islands) – `Ukulele and Slack Key

Ledward Kaapana has quite a collection of instruments but he has a couple of favorites that he keeps close at hand. One is his 1992 Martin 000-16 and another is his Moore Bettah `Ukulele custom built by Chuck Moore of Hawai`i Island. We decided to do a tribute to Chuck featuring this gorgeous instrument. (more…)


Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Led Kaapana Touring NorCal, I’m Opening

Here we are back in Kaleponi after a sweet month in Kailua, O`ahu. Tomorrow Led and Sharon will arrive from their Southern California tour and we’ll settle down to the serious fun of playing slack key all day and night. We will interrupt our jam session to play some shows, too!

Friday, August 21 we’ll be at 142 Throckmorton in Mill Valley. Show starts at 8 PM.

On Sunday, August 23 Led will perform on the Municipal Wharf in Santa Cruz at the 23rd annual Aloha Races and Polynesian Festival. Led is scheduled to play from 3:30 to 5:00 PM.

Wednesday, August 26 we’ll climb the Santa Cruz Mountains again to play at Don Quixote’s in Felton. That show starts at 7:30.

Thursday, August 27 we’re off to Sacramento where we’ll play at Harlow’s. Doors open at 5:30, show starts at 7:00 PM.

Finally, on Friday, August 28 we’ll head down to quaint Morro Bay where we’ll perform at the Coalesce Bookstore. That show will start at 7:00 PM.

I’m looking forward to the fun of these shows with Ledward. Naturally a big part of the fun is watching the audience enjoy the inimitable Mr. Ledward Kaapana in action. I hope you’ll be able to join us.


Friday, July 31st, 2015

A Slack Key Duet on Ka `Elepulu Stream

We’re enjoying a relaxing visit to Kailua, O`ahu, hanging out on Kaelepulu Stream in the Enchanted Lake district. The breeze is cool, the fish are splashing in the stream, and the outrigger canoes go dashing back and forth on their training runs.

I ran into a bit of technical difficulty with the mic module for my recorder, so when I invited Led Kaapana over for a little jam and video session I had to plug our guitars in direct, but I hope you’ll enjoy the music anyway. (more…)


Saturday, July 4th, 2015

Pua Tuberose

I’ve enjoyed listening to Sonny Chillingworth ever since I connected with slack key and Hawaiian music. His “Spanish bass” style was instantly appealing, as was his soothing baritone voice. I’ve had a soft spot for Pua Tuberose ever since hearing his recording on the Sonny Solo CD. And of course the song moved up a few notches when I discovered that Ledward often includes Pua Tuberose in his slow song medleys. (more…)


Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Salomila in a New Way

If ever there was a modern slack key classic, it would be Salomila. My usual Hawaiian music CD source,, lists 10 different recorded versions and I know there are more than that out there some where. I included the song on my Kaleponi CD, I’ve used it in two videos, and it’s my standard song when I need a demo tune for the Homebrewed Music blog. Now I’ve done another video of Salomila but this video is full of new stuff. (more…)


Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

A `Oia – Slack Key Style

The first time I saw Kimo Hussey perform was at the ampitheatre space at Ward Warehouse in Honolulu, where he conducted a kanikapila based on the He Mele Aloha songbook. I was just beginning my exposure to Hawaiian music and I still remember his wonderful performance of his jazzy `ukulele instrumental of A `Oia. It turned out that Kimo had been part of the team that published He Mele Aloha and John Almeida’s A `Oia was the very first song in the book. I remember gazing at the parade of chords that accompanied the song and feeling sure that I would never find them all on the slack key guitar. (more…)


Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

A Couple of Duets with Ledward Kaapana

One of the best things about being home in Walnut Creek is having our friends visit. Whether it’s hula practice or a kanikapila, maybe putting on a dinner or having some kind of party. And of course some of our favorite friends visit us from Hawai`i. It’s an honor to host Ledward Kaapana and Sharon when they’re visiting Northern California.

Ledward is touring with George Kahumoku and Richard Ho`opi`i and some of their gigs bring them close to our neighborhood. And on some of those occasions we got a visit from Led and Sharon. And of course on those visits Led and I wind up playing slack key together. Led enjoys sampling my guitar collection and I get a real charge out of hearing my instruments played by the master. (more…)


Friday, July 25th, 2014

Mr. Presley, Please Get in Touch

I was contacted via the contact form on this website by Mr. Roy Presley, who purchased one of my CDs at the recent benefit concert in Palo Alto where I performed with Led Kaapana. Mr. Presley reported that the CD would not play successfully and requested a replacement, which I am happy to provide.

Unfortunately the message that came to me does not include a valid email address or other contact information, so I am unable to respond to Mr. Presley. Roy, if you are reading this, or if anyone knows Roy Presley residing presumably on the SF Peninsula or nearby, please try again to get in touch. I’m very sorry for the inconvenience and would appreciate any assistance in resolving this.



Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Slack Key at the Beach!

We’ve made a lot of great friends in Hawai`i and we get together regularly for garage-style parties. But for a special occasion the only place for a party is the beach! And not just any beach but the queen of soft surf and powdery sand, Kailua Beach. With tents and ironwood trees for shade, plenty of kids running around and every kind of delightful food, all we needed was a couple of guitars to get us through the day with some sweet slack key sounds. (more…)


I have recorded a CD called Kaleponi, all solo acoustic slack key instrumentals, mostly traditional pieces, a few originals.


You an buy a copy of the CD or download the tracks at CD Baby.

If you prefer, you can download individual tracks or the whole album from iTunes as well.

The complete liner notes and back cover notes of Kaleponi are available here.