Friday Links


– James Hill has a new membership site: The Ukulele Way.
The Glory of Love by Ukulelezaza. I haven’t worked through this yet but if you liked his last book you’ll like this one too.


– The documentary Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings is on US Netflix.
Three questions for James Hill
– Or you can kill two birds with one stone and watch Jake and James play live together (for the first time?): Billie Jean, In My Life (thanks to Rob).
Documentary about the founder of Bristol Ukulele Club.
Roy Smeck: The Wizard of the Strings (thanks to Ron Hale).


Ukulele fishing.
Tommy’s singed ukulele.

New Releases

– New double album from Craig Robertson: Bad Choices/There Must Be A Circus In Town.
The Entry’s Ukulele Outing.
Songs For Swinging Ukuleles by Tricity Vogue.
Dinosaurs Ate My Caravan by Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers.

Another reason not to let kids play ukuleles.

View Comments


  1. Ron Hale July 18th, 2014 8:13 pm

    Bet it was her doing, Al. “You’re not ducking him, are you sweetie-pie?”


    My first reaction to seeing them play together, and
    they also do “Gently Weeps”, was one of
    massive anti-climax.

    This is what I’ve wanted to see for years? Jake
    touching up a James song and vice versa?

    You know, be careful of what you wish for, and all that.

    Hard to read the dynamics of what’s going on. James doesn’t seem to know just how to relate
    to Jake.

    It is JAKE, after all. And Jake carries more
    weight than James. The only person in Ukedom who does.

    Sorry, James fans, but it’s true. Not to mention that they’re just two very different people.

    She seems taut. Nervous laughter. Hoping it
    goes alright.

    Jake seems cool with the whole thing. Amused by it. Wishing the other two would just relax.

    Or, I could be reading it all wrong.

    Now, I think that they’re way too talented to waste time covering pop tunes, no matter how
    flashy the covers are.

    Jake’s originals are OK. But there are others out there who could do a much better job.

    For instance, serious contemporary composers are writing new music for guitar: solo pieces, duos, trios, quartets.

    James and Jake could commission these people to write new music for two ukuleles. Modern classical music, as it were.

    Include cello, perhaps.

    This would be a vast new area for the ukulele
    to explore.

    And, the profile of the instrument would be raised considerably.

  2. sanford(andsong) July 19th, 2014 1:47 am

    Their collaboration was worth it if only for James’ “You’re learning, young grasshopper”…
    A couple other points of note:
    James did a “folk school” tent performance, Jake did not.
    Jake played MainStage, James did not. (Jake gets additional points for blowing out some of the MainStage speakers alone with his uke. )
    Here’s a vid of the two of them discussing their different approaches:

  3. sanford(andsong) July 19th, 2014 1:55 am

    Jake writes original material? I always thought his choice of cover material could only be described as “conventional in the extreme”. Or “overripe”.

  4. Woodshed July 19th, 2014 11:27 am

    Ron and Sanford: I was a bit underwhelmed by it too. I’m guessing they didn’t have much rehearsal time.

    I much preferred James’s duet with Tobias Elof. Their styles are much closer together.

    I actually prefer Jake’s originals to his covers (which, yeah, tend to be overripe). And James definitely doesn’t need any help writing originals.

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