Thursday, November 3, 2011

More on Maui

Here's an article I recently wrote for, a website about women harp players, past and present.
It's got some other pix of the Maui tour.  Hope you enjoy it. -JK

Maui Tour—or I left my Heart in Makawao

Philbillie (my partner, guitar slinger, road manager and engineer/producer) grew up on Maui playing, cutting his teeth in the clubs.  His dad put in the first FM rock radio station on Maui. Philbillie's sister had recently moved back with her 2 boys, so I thought it was high time that we put together a tour and take the occasion to visit them.

Turns out everyone wants to go to Maui.  We brought along bass player Dave Newman, and the fabulous Eric McFadden who has played with P-Funk, Eric Burdon, and lots of famous folk too numerous to name here.  Let's just say he's one hot guitar guy. 

While there, we had the good fortune to hook up with a great drummer, Josh Greenbaum, who we wanted to steal away from the island and bring him back to SF.  Might just steal him yet.

We got to stay in a beautiful place, Rainbow Acres, way up a windy road on a mountain in a eucalyptus forest.  It’s a farm where they grow and sell all kinds of succulents and cacti.  Wherever we went we were making fast new friends and fans.

Philbillie had some old radio contacts and we played a benefit for the community radio station there, Radio Mana'o, making fast friends with the DJs there, especially singer/songwriters Dorothy Betz and Les Adams  Here's a shot of us all jammed into the tiny studio there.

Touring a new market for the first time can be worrisome. You just don’t know if anyone’s gonna show up to hear you, especially if they never heard of you.  We had a number of club dates in the tourist part of the 
island, Kihei, and as the word got out, (on the coconut wireless as they call it)  more and more folks came to see us.  

We got to play Charlie’s, Willy Nelson’s hangout, which was really fun, and by the time we did the Radio Mana’o benefit at Casanova, they had one of the best turnouts they ever had in something like 15 years of benefits. 

One of the high points was a house concert that was put together by master guitar-builder Stephen Grimes  This guy has built guitars for George Benson (four of ‘em!), Leo Kottke, Willy Nelson, Larry Coryell and the list goes on.  We got to hang in his studio and play with crazy-ass amazing guitars!  Ukeleles, too.  By the way, you better pronounce it right over there—that’s oo-koo-lay-lay.  It’ll save you a few scowls if you say it right.  Steve had put together a very cool house concert for us.  It was the first one he did, and it pretty much sold out.

Here’s Dave Newman playing a Steve Grimes guitar:

If the Tiki gods are willing, we’ll be back in March for another tour, since we’ve had a festival offer.  Another chance to go back to paradise.  It is paradise, yes, but only for the people who are there who make it so.  Aloha and mahalo.