Category Archives: Slack Key

LIVE 104 • Ki Ho’alu

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.  

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce grand auditorium nylon string) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

LIVE 099 • Mauna Loa Slack Key

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 with a Taylor 310ce (Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM141 microphones in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 10/11/07.

LIVE 092 • Opihi Moe Moe (Taylor 310ce)

Here’s a recently found cover I did of Leonard Kwan’s signature tune, Opihi Moe Moe. One of the most popular songs in the slack key repetoire, this song has been covered perhaps most prominently by Led Kaapana; in fact, Chet Atkins even recorded a version after hearing it from Leonard on a visit to Hawai’i. Notably, Leonard himself recorded several versions of this song including variations such as Opihi Bounce. Opihi Moe Moe is a fun song to play that lends itself to little variations, and everyone seems to bring something different to this deceptively simple song. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 310ce (Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM141 microphones in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 1/4/2008.

LIVE 097 • Kaiminani Slack Key (Alt Take)

Here is an alternate take of my original slack key song, “Kaiminani Slack Key.”  The song is 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.

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce grand auditorium nylon string) and an Ear Trumpet Labs “Edwina” microphone.  

LIVE 094 • Gabby Style Hula Medley

Today’s post is a performance of “Hula Medley,” which pays tribute to Gabby Pahinui’s hugely influential recordings of the same name (both the early solo verision, and the version found on Pure Gabby).  Many have covered this over the years, with one of my favorite versions appearing on Sonny Chilingworth’s Sonny Solo album.  Per below, my recording of the medley here includes a slightly different lineup of songs.  Hope you enjoy.

Medley:
Intro / Nani Wale Li’hue
Wai’alae
U’lili E
Aloha ‘Oe

Recorded with a Taylor 310ce (Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM141 microphones in Holualoa, Hawai’i, in fall of 2007.

LIVE 091 • Fronds in the Wind at Wai’alae Beach Park in Kahala

Here’s a recording of my slack key song Fronds in the Wind at Wai’alae Beach Park in Kahala.  Appropriately, it was a windy day, but nice and the park was not super crowded.  Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir strings, ES1) direct through a Boss DD-2 delay pedal, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

LIVE 089 • Bumble Bee Slack Key

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.

Recorded with a Taylor 310ce (Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM141 microphones in Holualoa, Hawai’i, 12/16/07.

LIVE 069 • Kailua Bay Blues

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.

Recorded with a Taylor 310ce (Elixir Polyweb 80/20 Bronze) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM 141 microphones in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, 9/13/07.  


LIVE 093 • Hilo Rag (Dennis Kamakahi)

Hilo Rag is a super fun tune to play from Dennis Kamakahi’s oeuvre.  Better known for lyrical songs like Koke’e, Hilo Rag makes me wish I heard more of Dennis’s instrumental work.  I was fortunate enough to meet Dennis and son David years ago and see them play, both on stage and in smaller back porch style jam sessions.  I remember Dennis dressing sharp in his kind of urban paniolo style, complete with boots and cowboy hat.  Like I say, this is such a fun song to play I can never just play it once when I’m running through songs (and will be posting an alternate take on my other channel soon).  Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce grand auditorium nylon string) and an Ear Trumpet Labs “Edwina” microphone.