Monday Exposure: Ukebucket

Ukebucket – Take On Me (MP3)
Ukebucket – No Rain (MP3) via Covered

Amber Nash’s uke videos are a regular UkeTube highlight. She’s now put together two albums with her band Ukebucket: an album of covers, Covered, which you can download for free and an album of originals, Bad Ukulele, which you can buy on CD Baby. Amber was good enough to allow me to subject her to some routine enquiries.

Ukebucket are a geographically scattered band. How did you get together?

Well, I’ve known Rikk since we were kids. He and my brother were in the same preschool class and were best buds growing up, so he was always around. When I was about 16 or 17, I was in a community theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Rushville, Indiana, and I enlisted Rikk to play lead guitar for the pit. I drove us back and forth so we got to know each other and we started jamming. We’ve been great friends since then. I met Barry…well…honestly, I can’t remember really how I met Barry. Sometime in college, which might explain why I don’t remember. I think he knew one of my roommates and we just kind of came together and started playing. Barry, Rikk, myself, and countless other random individuals have been jamming since we were all in the early years of college. Talk of an album has been bounced back and forth for several years, but we’ve only been really serious about it for the past year or so.

Why’s the album called ‘Bad Ukulele’ when it’s obviously very good ukulele?

Why, thank you! The name of the album is good proof that all three of us are pretty ridiculous. We really had fun making the music, recording, making the art, and just hanging around. I think I was just doodling and ended up with a rough idea of what the cover art is now. I remember that the phrase, “bad ukulele”, at the time, was kind of a running joke. I would say it often as a way to make excuses for my amateur playing:) I’m a second grade teacher, so I thought the ukulele in the corner was pretty cute. In all honestly, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. It’s just a combination of randomness, quirkiness, and a hearty passion for self-deprecation.

Do you ever get the chance to break out the uke at school [as a teacher rather than student]?

Yes! I do! The kids really like it. It’s a chance for me to get more comfortable making things up off the top of my head and a chance for the kids to be around live music. Last year we wrote a couple songs together. It was pretty cute.

How come everyone’s favourite Ukebucket song, Pig Latin, didn’t make it onto the album?

It’s so crazy how the songs that folks seem to like are the songs that I wrote in ten minutes. I should work with that. The songs on “Bad Ukulele” are pretty old, with the exception of a few. Most have been around for as much as 3 or 4 years, we just never really did anything with them. We wanted to finish this thing because we had been talking about it for so long. I think the only really new song on the album is “Who Are We” which was a part of Project 52. I’m currently working on more of a “solo” CD. “Pig Latin” will definitely be included on that, as well as other Project 52 songs. It’ll be more of a simple sound, mostly just me and a ukulele, and some harmonies.

What can we expect from Ukebucket in the future?

Well, because of the physical space between band members it’s difficult to perform together. We’re going to continue to send music back and forth, visit each other, jam, record, and so on. I’m going to work on a solo album which I had mentioned in the previous question. We are currently really focused on purchasing better recording equipment (for me, anyway) so that what we send back and forth can be more easily edited. Once those ducks are in a row, the Project 52 songs will be more collaborative. I did want to mention that Project 52 has dwindled as of late. Life happens, but it started out and remains a mostly personal project, to kick my butt into gear when it comes down to composing music. I’ve got several songs to hammer out, and they’ll make an appearance when the time is right. So, in the future, expect better quality and more frequent updates on the MySpace and YouTube site, a solo album, and, if everything goes well, a winter album consisting of mostly original tunes.

You can download Covered for free here and buy Bad Ukulele here and listen to more Ukebucket tunes on their MySpace.

Neil Armstrong, ukebucket and other Ukulinklinks

Herald Tribune interviews the guy who took the infamous picture of Neil Armstrong strumming his ukulele on return from the moon.

ukebucket have just released two albums: one of originals, Bad Ukulele, and one of covers, Covered. You can download the covers album for free here. And buy the originals album, and I can tell you it’s worth it, here (although if you’re stuck in the 1920s and want a rotating disc, you’ll have to wait a while).

The LA Times comes out in defence of ukuleles.

17 Dots (the blog of eMusic) has a series on the ukulele.

Todd the Ukulele Evangalist sings of life as a Ukaholic (MP3 link).

Tab for the X Files theme on Des Cordes er Dubois.

The Curtis Covers Project is a kind of karaoke request blog. People suggest a song for him to cover and he posts his version – often played on ukulele. My personal favourite is Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl.

Blogotheque’s Take Home Shows is an idea too good not to steal. The latest imitator, Shoot the Player, has some fine ukulele videos from Via Tania here and here. But my favourite is Laura Jean’s So Happy It Hurts.

Eddie Vedder discusses the uke’s size to melody ratio.

Fawlty Towers and Dream a Little Dream on Uker Tabs.

How much should you pay a menstruating ukulele player?

Shiny and the Spoon: Interview

This is the second time I’ve interviewed Amber Nash. My excuse – if I need an excuse beyond her being bot-rockingly awesome – is that last time she was part of ukebucket and this time she’s half of Shiny and the Spoon.

Shiny and the Spoon have just released their new EP. You’ll be familiar with many of the songs if you’ve been following Amber’s YouTube channel (although still no sign of Pig Latin despite my protestations).

Here’s her lowdown on the EP, independent recording and being a girl.

Who’s Shiny and who’s the Spoon?

This is something that Jordan and I go back and forth with, mostly to be combative:) I guess I’m Shiny and he’s the Spoon. The name of our band really came from nowhere. We both just really liked the way it sounded and didn’t, at the time, realize how weird of a name it was. It wasn’t until Mark Utley, frontman for Magnolia Mountain, made our logo that the name started to make sense. It’s sort of a nursery rhyme, “dish ran away with the spoon” and “the cow jumped over the moon” sort of thing. I guess we like working backwards.

How would you describe the new EP?

It’s quirky, just like us. There are some “found” sounds, good melody lines, and some sweet, sweet harmonies. It’s playful, but understated…it doesn’t necessarily ask anything of the listener, just to enjoy it. We turned on a faucet, hit a doorframe with a ukulele case, messed with crazy reverbs, and really just made it what we wanted it to be. It reflects our personalities.

How’s it been recording and releasing your own music?

Hell and Heaven and everything in-between. The great thing about recording on your own is that you have complete control over everything…and the bad thing is that you have complete control over everything. Because we are a completely independent band, our progress kind of goes with the schedule of our whims and moods. But I’m glad we did it on our own. We’ve grown with the music, musically, technically, and emotionally. We really tried to make the EP as organic as possible, from the way the songs sound to the packaging. The front and back cover are hand-drawn by Mark Utley, and we do our best to make sure that the tracks sound as close to what we’re like “live” as possible. Apart from a faucet trickle, a trumpet, some hand percussion, and a bit of reverb on some tracks, it’s pretty much just us, raw. We’re really happy with it. There was nothing like going to the pressing company to pick up our EP, printed, pressed, and shrink-wrapped, after all the work we put into it.

What happened to ukebucket? Are you still a going concern?

ukebucket is no more! It is, however, still my handle on YouTube. The ukebucket boys are incredibly talented, but like many things, you grow, you change, and you move on. It’s impossible for us to collaborate because of many things…they live in Florida, and now we’re all busy with our own things. I know Rikk Palmer is doing his solo music thing, and I’ve got Shiny and the Spoon. I still listen to Bad Ukulele… sometimes and smile.

Which three songs does everyone have to listen to?

Simple Song, Two Pennies, and Good On You

A couple of your videos have gone ‘cute girl plays the ukulele’ style viral – how do you feel about that whole trend? Do you think the shock that girls can make music will ever wear off?

You know, like many things, I think it’s just going to come and go in waves. I absolutely love the ukulele. I love the way it sounds, how versatile it is, the way it looks, etc. It’s the only instrument I’ve ever been really passionate about. It allowed me to write my own songs. If it can do the same for others, cute or not, I say more power to them. YouTube is, obviously, not a site that is restricted for “professional and serious” musicians. It acts as whatever medium you want it to…a blog, a diary, a way to promote your music, etc. If that can help others unleash their creative side, whether they be male or female, I think that’s a good thing. And if it comes as a shock that women can make good music, well, I guess, my only comment is, where have you been???!!!!!

Keep up to date with Shiny and the Spoon on MySpace and buy the EP on CD Baby or on iTunes.

A-Ha – Take Me On (Tab)

take on me tab


That ‘Literal Video’ thing got old fast. Nevermind, the Take On Me one was amusing.

Ukebucket did a rather fine cover of this tune. You can download it here.

Ukulele Video of the Year 2008: Your Vote

The nominations for Ukulele Video of the Year are in and I’ve come up with a list of 11 videos as contenders.

I think it provides a pretty good overview of the ukulele scene at the moment: orchestras and solo acts; originals and covers; songs and instrumentals; pros and ams. Some surprises though. No Bosko and Honey. And I thought JuNu would make it this year.

Here are the links to the videos in reverse alphabetical order. You get one vote, so use it wisely. If you’re reading this via the feed or email click here to come over to the blog and vote. Voting closes at midnight Hawaii time next Tuesday (3rd February).

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra – It’s a Heartache
Ukulelezo – Optional Accessory
Ukebucket – The Fourth Thursday of November
Rod Thomas – Same Old Lines
Sweetafton23 – I Believe She’s Lying
Seeso – Hotel California
Neal Paisley – Gossip
GUGUG – Surfin’ Bird
The Gentle Surprise – Gimme That Wine
The Barnkickers – Night Song
Jason Arimoto – Little Wing


Ukulele Player Magazine and other Ukulele Links

The next How to Play Ukulele ebook should be released next week. It’s a little different from my usual releases as I’m not the only person involved. It’s a kind of Live-Aid-for-Ukulele-Tabbers with all proceeds from the ebook going directly to Ukuleles for Peace. It contains tabs by Dominator, James Hill (yes, THE James Hill), Ken Middleton, Mark Kailana Nelson, Wilfried Welti and me. For once I can say it’s absolutely fantastic without feeling like I’m being boastful. I’ve been loving playing these tabs myself (and I got them free – which is the only reason I started the project in the first place). So make sure you don’t miss the launch next week (hopefully).

The first edition of Ukulele Player Magazine is up for download and includes interviews with Craig Robertson and Amber ‘Ukebucket’ Nash.

IZ’s uke in the Grammy Museum.

Get uke chords on your iPhone

The Duke of Uke blog has started putting up tabs and chords, starting with Babooshka.

More art ukes.

MFM has an MP3 of Florence and the Machine’s cover of Postcards from Italy.

Tony Danza pulled out his Flea for a quick song on Fox News. The only clip I could find was the snippet at the end of this video.

Frank Skinner’s continuing uke obsession: “It drives my girlfriend crazy. I sit up for hours watching instruction videos on the net after she’s gone to bed. But at least I’ve branched out on what kind of videos I’m watching online late at night. ”

Michael Leviton’s The Beach Gets Cold on Uker Tabs. And I’ve finally got round to listing the Uker Tabs contributions on the Ukulele Chords and Tabs page.

Friday Timewaster: Stick Cricket.

If the credit crunch is biting, try selling off your used MP3s (according to Idolator it isn’t a joke).

UkeTube: GUGUG, Daisy Dobuyuki

It’s only fitting that GUGUG feature on this week’s UkeTube. And one of their best I’d say. Read the rest of this entry »

Ukulele Evangelist, Chord Diagrams and other Ukulelinks

Friend of Uke Hunt, Todd’s new blog Ukulele Evangelist is off to a cracking start with posts on mid-priced ukuleles and an interview with the world’s handsomest ukulele blogger.

Mike debates the graphical representation of ukulele chords.

Langley Ukulele Ensemble visit Hawaii.

Amber ‘Ukebucket‘ Nash was featured in two newspaper articles this week. This is press intrusion of the worst kind. Let her have a life.

Ukulele MP3s: Linguistic Banter on Foggy ruins of Time.

Life on Mars on Uker Tabs.

Get ukulele chords on your Blackberry.

These dolls really are creepy.

Ukulele avatars.

Prescilla Ahn, Jake Wildwood and The Barnkickers on the UkeTube

I think I should probably change the name now that YouTube have stolen it. Anyhoo, this week I was really impressed with Jake Wildwood. He’s put a whole load of old timey uke and non-uke videos up this week. You can download all his albums for free on his website.

The Barnkickers – One Less Tear Read the rest of this entry »

The Saturday UkeTube

As well as the ukulele festival videos from Paris and Taunton and parts three and four of Bosco and Honey’s Ukulele Safari, there were plenty of other top uke performances this week including the ever growing ukulele tribute to The Cure. Read the rest of this entry »

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