Like many, my first exposure to Cyril’s solo recordings came through his amazing albums recorded for the Dancing Cat label, including the “6 & 12 String Slack Key” album on which “Young Street Blues” is featured. This particular song was highlighted for me in Mark Hanson’s excellent book of slack key transcriptions, which featured this among other songs by Cyril and other slack key legends.
The liner notes to the album tell a story of Cyril writing the song at a recording studio on Young Street in 1991. I seem to recall another story, told by Cyril at a performance, about Cyril living in an apartment on Young Street and feeling kind of restless. Young Street, starts (or ends) in Honolulu’s Mo’ili’ili neighborhood, running between King Street and Beretania, through Makiki, to Thomas Square Park near the Honolulu Museum of Art. I recall Cyril talking along the lines of how Young Street was sandwiched between these prominent streets and landmarks in a kind of limbo, being neither here nor there. I think the song (and ‘that note’) speak to such a restless vibe… but also a sense of playfulness.
Unusually for his solo work, Cyril uses Taro Patch tuning – the most common slack key tuning, but not one featured as often as the C and D tunings Cyril favored. Cyril’s style is at once both muscular and nuanced, with deep tunings and sometimes the added jangle of a 12 string guitar – it’s a ‘large’ sound. I tried to capture that feel here by tuning down to a lower register. This song was fun to play and record. Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor K22ce (solid koa grand concert with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) and a Telefunken M60 small diaphragm condenser microphone.
Here’s an alternate take of my arrangement of the Springsteen classic I’m on Fire. This is a really cool little song – almost a sketch at under 3 minutes long, but it really creates a great atmosphere in that short amount of time. Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone in Honolulu, Hawai’i 2/26/15.
Growing up in Hawai’i, the classic theme song to Magnum, P.I. still resonates with me somehow. Though my memories of the actual show are filtered through a sort of vague, hazy nostalgia, I always liked the idea of Thomas Magnum cruising around in a Ferrari and solving mysteries. Original Magnum (and later Monica boyfriend) Tom Selleck has been one of those now longtime TV hallmarks, and established the character. The reboot with Jay Hernandez from a few years back also had a great cast that built upon that legacy, and I was happy it featured a remake of the original theme song. I’m not really into recording TV theme songs, but this one is a classic that ended up being fun to record on uke. Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Kamaka Koa Deluxe Tenor ukulele (Kamaka HF-3D, high G with either Uke Logic Soft Tension or Ko’olau Aho strings, and a Thomastik-Infeld CF-27 flat wound third string) and a Telefunken M60 small diaphragm microphone.
Here is a fingerstyle cover of “Every Breath You Take,” the hypnotic signature tune from The Police. Many stories surround the writing, recording, and subsequent success of the song – for example one interesting tidbit is that Sting apparently wrote the song while sitting at Ian Fleming’s writing desk on his famous Goldeneye estate in Jamaica. With its classic guitar part, “Every Breath” has a mellow / dreamy feel seemingly at odds with its borderline creepy lyrics – though some may find the song is a tad less sinister as an instrumental 🙂 Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) a single Beyerdynamic MC 930 microphone in Honolulu, Hawai’i 8/25/14.
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.
Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone in Honolulu, Hawaii 4/27/15.
Here is an alternate take of my fingerstyle arrangement of Harvest Moon, the titular song from the great early 90’s Neil Young album. In era when some of his peers were merely coasting along, Neil was doing some of his best work. Hope you enjoy.
Recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone in Honolulu, Hawai’i 9/7/15.
Here are an alternate take and a remix of my fingerstyle guitar arrangement of Auld Lang Syne. It’s a slack key tinged version with an added bridge/transition, but otherwise follows the familiar melody closely.
Remix of original post:
Happy New Year!
Both takes recorded with a Taylor 412ce LTD (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb 80/20 Bronze HD gauge set) and a single Beyerdynamic MC 930 microphone in Honolulu, Hawai’i 12/30/14.