March 2018 – BLUES

Some people in general can be a little uninspired by blues as a theme. I have to admit, it wasn’t until I started making blues songbooks and learning the songs that I really fell in love with the form. Once learned, anyone can easily join in with a blues Jam. The choice of songs in this book was more about finding actual songs that had been recorded back in the day on Ukulele. I discovered Hokum Blues was a good source of material. Here’s the Spotify Playlist if you’d like to listen to the tracks we performed.

Mullum Uke Club members worked on a little riff that was designed to unleash the power of the Hammer on, Pull off and slide. Here’s the video with charts and practice tracks for download. There is also the Cm pentatonic scale, otherwise know as the Blues scale as a pdf for you to practice.

It was so great to have another night with Kate Gittins on wind instruments and Dan Brown on Keys. Playing with amazing musicians and lovely people is what it is all about. Dan impressed us even further when he whipped out his pocket trumpet for ‘St. James Infirmary’. It was great to have Rex Carter back on drums and is always a joy to have Rod Coe on bass, keeping everything buoyant.

Each UKE NIGHT is a precious memory for me and lately more so that ever. Miss Amber sang beautifully and seemingly, no one cringed on the songs I lead, though the stand out memory for me will be when our guest Shelly Brown took the mic.

She began with Eva Cassidy’s version of ‘Wayfairing Stranger’. It was as though the roof had been ripped off and the stars where shining down upon us. Shelly belted that tune into the stratosphere. Shelly embodies the songs she sings and you are transported with her to somewhere else entirely. She stayed on stage with us for her next two songs then joined Miss Amber for some backing vocals. So great to have a humble, genuine, sweet – mind blowing singer at UKE NIGHT. We are blessed with talent in the Northern Rivers of NSW.

The numbers were down on last months gathering due to some pretty heavy rain and some folk being away, though those who made it had a great time. The book on the whole was very playable and an encore was beckoned at the end of the evening which is always a good sign.

This will be the last book that I offer to everyone through the mailing list. From now on in order to receive the songbooks you will need to be a Patron on my Patreon page. In this way I can continue to put as in as much time and love into the UKE NIGHTS as I have for the last 7 years. Please do sign up and enjoy the benefits of the higher tiers of Patronage.

Jan 2017 Modern Australian

Thanks to everyone for coming to the Modern Australian UKE NIGHT. It was in the end a fantastic evening albeit with a late start and even later finish. I was up at the crack of dawn and so was our trusty sound man Luis Christia and Door Technician Deb Stoker at the Brunswick Heads Breakfast in the Park Australia Day celebration. The NRUO was leading the songs for the forth year in a row. So we were a little pooped.

This book featured Australian songs from the last 20 years. So not surprisingly some folk had never heard of them. This was the exact reason I did the book. It seems ludicrous that songs most people want to hear and play are the ones they know, usually from their youth when they first fell in love with them. While I understand why that is, in the past 20 years 10s of thousands of songs have been written… some real treasure too. We must keep moving along folks.

With this in mind I thought it important to have some young folk up on stage with us. Local band 100 Words consists of 12 year old – Miller Stuart-Long, (fantastic singer / song writer in the making), Jack Edmonds and Sam Sanders. These guys share the instruments around and have learned how to hold it down and keep it tight. So refreshing to see. Milly sang with daughter Rose Eadie on ‘Big Jet Plane’ before the band got up and played two original songs. Also Sonny Flynn played trumpet. What a great feeling to share the stage with these young musicians. Sam Sanders was actually in the UKE NIGHT band as guitarist and did a mighty job with a talent way beyond his years, playing some wicked riffs and solid grooves and solos on songs he heard for the first time the week before.

The first half of the show was full of pop songs from Australian bands and solo artists, including the wonderful message song ‘Caught In The Crowd’ by Kate Miller-Heidke. Guest vocalist Sara Tindley’s daughter Poppy Baily-Tindley sang this one with Rosie – they were amazing. Both Miss Amber and Sara sang harmonies with the girls unable to contain their proud mother smiles.

Brad Green won the highly coveted poster in the raffles and Noel won the two tickets for next month. Barb won the Australia Day ukulele and promptly told Miss Amber to bend over so she could show her were to stick it. (Barb is over 80 and doesn’t fancy learning I guess).

The 2nd half of the show was more singer songwriter flavoured, perfect for our guests Sara and Mr Ash Bell. Ash is having a break from performing at the moment and it was so great to hear his voice again. See clip of Ash singing Paul Kelly’s ‘They Thought I Was Asleep’. A few people had left by now as it was getting late so it was a very special intimate 30 minutes, finished of by a rockin’ version of  ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ from Jet sang by Sara, who can belt out a rock tune with the best of them. (I love when Sara Rocks out)

There was a lot of learning from the musicians this month and I really appreciate the time and effort that went into recreating all the little details. Brilliant keys from new comer Dan Brown who was the perfect man for the job with the ability to pull authentic synth sounds one minute and beautiful piano solos the next. Thanks To Al Brooker and Jason Caspen for their exceptional rhythm section work. The night was ended with a soulful version of Nick Caves ‘Into My Arms’ with impromptu 4 part harmonies in the last chorus. We were packed up and out of there before 10pm.

See more pics from Lyn McCarthy at Niche pics here

Modern Australian

Riptide – Vance Joy
Cry – The Mavis’s
Lighthouse – The Waifs
Coin Laundry – Lisa Mitchell
Caught In The Crowd – Kate Miller-Heidke
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Don’t Be Silly – 100 Words
Hoops – The Rubens
To My Table – Mama Kin
Walking on A Dream – Empire Of The Sun

Black Bugs – Regurgitator
I’m Not Coming Back – Husky
Buttons – Sia
Time – Sara Tindley
We Won’t Run – Sarah Blasko
Bowen Station – Ash Bell
They Thought I Was Asleep – Paul Kelly
My Happiness – Powderfinger
Heart Beating – Suzannah Espie
Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye
Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet
Into My Arms – Nick Cave