Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Slack Key in Ferndale, CA – February 12, 2016

We’re hitting the road tomorrow, headed up 101 to the Victorian village of Ferndale, CA. We’ve been invited by the folks at The Ferndale Music Company to perform at The Old Steeple venue. Check out some of the other performers on their calendar! Little Ferndale gets some top flight talent.

We’re looking forward to a great road trip, see some new sights, try new restaurants, maybe find some trails since some members of our group have turned into compulsive walkers.

If you’re in the neighborhood I hope you’ll join us for the show.


Sunday, January 17th, 2016

Ledward Kaapana Covers the Mainland

For those of us putting up with freezing rain, blizzards, and big heating bills it might seem a little silly to leave Hawai`i to tour around the mainland, but Ledward Kaapana is determined to share his slack key, `ukulele, and singing talent with us once again and I for one sure do appreciate it.

He starts with the 9th annual Southern California Slack Key Festival on Sunday, January 17, where he performs with Cyril Pahinui, John Keawe, Kawika Kahiapo, Jeff Peterson, Jim West, Patrick Landeza, Napua Greig, Mike Kaawa, nathan Nahinu, Peter Moon Jr., and Jeff Au Hoy.

Next he’ll head to Northern California for a visit to Walnut Creek where we’ll visit local restaurants, play lots of music around the house, and play a few gigs. I’ll be opening at these shows:

Friday, January 22
The Cue
Concord, CA
7:30 PM

Saturday, January 23
St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church
Los Osos, CA
7:00 PM
If you don’t have tickets for this one you may be out of luck, though, I hear they’re sold out.

Thursday, January 29
Sacramento, CA
7:00 PM

On Wednesday, February 3, Led will appear with Kupaoa and Patrick Landeza at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

Then he’ll join George Kahumoku and Jeff Peterson for an extensive tour around the US, extending through the middle of March and including visits to Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Ohio, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Arizona before heading back to California. Check the tour schedule at George’s website for details.


Monday, December 14th, 2015

Mike Kaawa in Walnut Creek

Mike and Malissa Kaawa favored us with a visit this past week, they were on a hunt for In and Out Burger and a visit to Tomi in Concord. But you know Mike brought one of his trademark 12 string Ovation guitars, and he spent at least a little time on every single guitar, `ukulele, and bass in the house. And he brought out his producer/arranger side to help me get some audio and video recordings with a new flavor. In other words, we had a blast. (more…)


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…)


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.