Tag Archives: Ukulele

Posts mentioning or prominently about ukulele

It’s May And My 5th Video This Year

May’s video is Peanut Envy’s take of the Jimmy Cox tune, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out. This jazzy blues was written in 1923 and made its way into the “Great American Songbook” during the depression. I thought the current situation may well echo that era and, since was just released into the public domain this year, I decided to add it to the video selection as well as putting it into regular rotation on my live set list.

It tells the story of a fella who was doing just fine during Prohibition, but fell on hard times along with nearly everyone else as the Great Depression settled in.

Since I’m one of the surviving members of the Bongwater Horns, the solo for this is taken on the kazoo. This is exactly how we do it when Peanut Envy is busking.

This was actually recorded in the same session as March’s video, so the usual disclaimers re: video editing learning curve apply here.

(But I am learning. Slowly.)

Enough chatter! On to the video itself…

Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out

Leave a comment if you’d like, but remember that Sharing Is Caring.

April’s new video (and barely under the wire!)

This is the second of the two “short story songs” I wrote late last year. You can check out the other one here if you haven’t already. It makes 4 months in a row that I’ve put up a new vid. (Though I’m definitely just barely squeaking this one in on time!)

(However, I do still have one “in the can” for next month.)

As usual, I’m experimenting with what I can do with LumaFusion. Still don’t have the color grading and such down very well, so the two cameras don’t exactly match. I suspect that better lighting will fix some of that.

I did learn that I could–after jumping through some hoops–use my 10-year old Canon Vixia cameras with LF on the iPad. That’s good because they were bloody expensive when I bought them new and I hate to have them simply hanging around collecting dust.

(Come to think on it, I had to jump through some hoops back when I was using an old version of iMovie on an elderly Mac desktop.)

The next test I do will be adding in my Zoom H2 to up the audio quality. Plus, if I want to, I can throw my phone camera into the mix and do a three camera shoot. That ought to keep me confused.

So with no further ado I present…

Hemoglobin Overload

If you like it, please share it! Sharing is caring.

New Video! Peanut Envy covers a Beck tune

Peanut Envy performing “Old Shanghai” by Beck

Old Shanghai was the first “teaser” song Beck released out of his 2012 book, Song Reader. The Song Reader is basically a bound collection of old skool style sheet music, like you’d buy in the pre-radio days to play in your parlor for your friends and family. His whole idea was to release songs that were meant to be played at home by the likes of you or me, rather than by “pros in studios” and he encouraged folks to put their own versions up on YouTube or SoundCloud.

This video is one of two that sal and I recorded last Wednesday, both of which were “one take wonders.” I don’t believe I’ve done two of those in a row before, no matter how long it was between them.

It also marks the 3rd month in a row that I’ve released a video, something that I also think might be a record for me. I’m going to immediately start editing the second song so as to try and get ahead of the game before April rolls around.

While there’s still some “artifacts” in the video, due both to me still on the learning curve with my video editor, LumaFusion, and to the fact that my phone’s camera somehow being set to “focus on faces”–a setting that I can’t seem to find how to turn off–which causes weird little glitches whenever I move and the camera refocuses as the light changes–I’m relatively pleased with the editing here.

For one thing, it’s the first two camera shoot I’ve done since acquiring LumaFusion. I can do that because me and my sweetie both have the same cellphone and she loaned me hers. Editing it is a bit of a kludge in LF, but I’ve learned how to do it.

For another, it’s the first time I’ve added a sound effect since my first ever release back in 2000 (on a 4-track cassette machine!) that featured an analog door slam.

There’s only one weirdness in the recording itself. I decided to leave it in because the rest of the performance was fine. If you spot it while listening, let me know in the comments.

New video of a new original tune

After a several year dry spell, last year I wrote not one, not two, but three new songs. This one is the last of the three, and the second one I wrote since finally copping to the fact that songs don’t always have to be novels. Short stories are a fine art in and of themselves.

It’s based on the Friedrich Nietzsche quote, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Think of it as a sort of open letter to whatever doesn’t kill me. In keeping with that, I have cleverly titled it, An Open Letter To Whatever Doesn’t Kill Me. It’s a very brief song… like the whole video, including titles, is only 2 minutes long. But its history stretches back to the mid-80s. I’m going to tell you 3 brief “sub-stories” before getting to the video itself.

So, if you’re a tl;dr sort, you can click the link above and go straight to YouTube to watch it. (But then, if you’re a tl;dr sort, I wonder what the hell you’re doing following me?)

(Before I forget to mention it, the joke behind the song is thanks to the Dunn Lumber at 93rd and Aurora in Seattle, who posted it on their reader board.)

I’ll have a few last words below the video.

Andrew’s Muse Story (sub-story 1 of 3)

In the mid-80’s I was heavily involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism–aka the SCA, a medieval re-creation group–and was living in an apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle, WA. (In SCA terms, that meant I was living in the Kingdom of An Tir.) Besides me and my then ladyfriend, there were two other SCA folk in the building.

One of these folk was Andrew–and damn, I can’t pull his last name out of my head right now–who was, amongst other things, quite the poet. He’d been overheard (misheard, actually) by a passing knight, saying something that the knight perceived as dissing the ladies of An Tir.

Since Andrew has something of a game leg, he did not participate in the armored fighter part of the SCA. This made it impossible for the knight to honorably challenge him to a duel in the lists. So instead he told him, as penance, he had to write a poem praising the beauty, wit, charm, etc. of the ladies of An Tir and read it at the banquet of an upcoming tourney. Andrew said (at least, mentally), “Challenge accepted!” and set to slaving over it for the next several weeks.

Yes. Weeks. It was an opus.

When he finished he was understandably happy and he came dashing down to the apartment where me and the aforementioned ladyfriend lived. He read it for us and we showed the appropriate appreciation–because it was good, that’s why–and he went happily back to his place. Probably to get some much needed sleep.

But one line in the poem just sparked me. I took it, twisted it around, and within a ridiculously short period of time had churned out a poem built around it. It was only two stanzas of six lines each, not an opus. I was tickled anyways and dashed up the stairs to read it to Andrew.

He listened, blinked a couple times, and then said (at least half jokingly), “How dare you have a 10 minute muse?!”

KW’s Song Advice (sub-story 2 of 3)

Back in about the same timeframe my guitar guru, K.W. Todd, had made a complementary comment on one of my songs. I muttered on about how, yeah, I was generally happy with it and had been playing it at open mikes to good response, but I wished I’d done this or that bit a little differently. But now that all these people had heard it I didn’t want to change it.

K.W. said, “But, Hobbit, it’s your tune! You can do anything you want with it.”

OK. Yeah. I heard that, but didn’t really absorb it until later. Indeed, much later.

Phil’s Short Story Lesson (sub-story 3 of 3)

Here’s where the three sub-stories converge.

Back in mid-November, Phil Doleman, my online pal from England tweeted,

I surprised myself by suddenly writing and recording an EP over the last week. Sometimes it happens like that, and you don’t argue :-)
You can get it from Bandcamp, name your price (which includes free :-) )

My first reaction, of course, was “How dare you have such a prolific muse!” (Yeah, Andrew. I feel it now, bro.)

I went and listened to it and noticed that the longest song was on 2:18 long. I’d never written a song that was that short. But I have notebooks full of song bits I’ve come up with and not been able to expand out into what I would consider a full song. So why not try a short story song? Within a week I’d finished a song called “Hemoglobin Overload,” fleshing out a song snippet I’d had around for years.

So… thanks, Phil!

Check out Phil’s EP, Might Never Happen.

The Video At Last

(This has a NSFW rating because I drop an F-bomb. Just one, because it’s a surgical strike. Too much collateral damage happens when you carpet F-bomb.)

Oh No! Not Another Learning Experience!

I’m still learning the LumaFusion video editor, so the Picture-In-Picture stuff isn’t as tidy as it could be. Also, I somehow set the camera to “focus on faces” mode and every time I moved it changed focus and mucked up the lighting.

Last Words

If you’ve read this far, please do me a large favor and drop a little comment here, even if it’s just “Hi, Hobbit, I read the thing.”

If you like it, please share it, either via YouTube or the link to this post.

Snake Suspenderz at the Gage Drawing Jam on 12/07/19

Some or all of the mighty Snakez have played the Gage Drawing Jam since before it was Gage Academy of Art. In fact, we found our long-time drummer, Andrew Hare (now, sadly deceased) playing this very gig.

This year we’re going back to our roots, with just Thaddeus and I holding down the fort. Think of it as “Snake Suspenderz Classic and you won’t be too far off.

The Drawing Jam runs from 9am to 6pm, and we’ll be jamming in room 200, where there are live models (of the nude persuasion) for you to sketch. We’ll be on from 1pm til 3pm.

There’s plenty of other choices at the drawing jam, from still lifes to costumed models to working in other mediums despite being called the “drawing” jam.

Stop by and say hi!