Archive for the ‘One Wood Uke’ Category

I’ll never forget the time, on some sleepy, long-forgotten mid-90s afternoon, when my older sister explained to me why she took special care to rotate the order of her hot hair rollers.

She didn’t use all of them, you see, and to just sloppily return them to their case would mean using the same ones over, and over, and over and over again.

But it wasn’t the wear-and-tear that concerned her. No, she explained that she wanted to make sure the individual rollers didn’t get jealous of each other.

It’s weird, but I get it.

I own 3 ukuleles (currently) not counting my wife’s Kamoa concert and my stepson’s Lanikai soprano which also reside in our home. But the one I play the most often is my Cordoba tenor, which recently started coming apart behind the neck.

I took it to the ukulele doctor (hat tip to Acoustic Music in SLC) and they clamped it and glued it and got it straightened out. But despite their excellent work, it’s still likely that my uke is on its last legs.

And that’s sad. And it reminded me that I haven’t been playing as much lately as I used to, and that I should while I still can. But the song I had been putting off recording is a finger-picking song, and that means I’d use my Kamoa coconut soprano because of its Low-G base string.

So there I was, feeling torn over whether it was OK to honor my dying Tenor by playing one of my Sopranos, when I remembered my sister’s hair rollers, laughed at myself a little, and got to work.

Now, it’s been quite some time since I recorded a song and longer still since I recorded by myself. I had a momentary panic when I couldn’t remember where all my gear was, before remembering some of it is tucked away behind the board games under our staircase in this awesome découpage box that my friend Emily made for me in college.

It was buried under a pile of playing cards and covered in dust and removing it from under the stairs felt like that scene in John Wick when he unearths his hidden cache of gold coins and weapons.

I mean c’mon, look at all the dust on this mic stand!

So here’s the new video. I’m barely dressed and my hair is disheveled and I’m sweaty because I had to turn off the air conditioners to cut down on white noise and because I worried that every delay pushed me one step closer to giving up and going back to watching television.

“Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” is an old folk song, which means there’s hundreds of different versions out there in the world. My take is inspired by the Oscar Isaac version from “Inside Llewyn Davis” — you’re shocked, I’m sure — and I’m using a standard Travis pick on C, F and Am with a little flourish from G# to G to end each verse.

I think it turned out OK. And as always, should you care to download a copy you can do so for free over at my bandcamp page.

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It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and I confess to being a little rusty.

I had a whole bit planned out for how my one-man-band One Wood Uke would be back from a faux-hiatus after internal rivalries, rehab and a failed solo effort by our frontman nearly destroyed the group, but my heart just wasn’t in it. (The One Wood Uke episode of “Behind The Music” would be preeeeeeeeetty boring).

What *is* exciting, though, is another Christmas collaboration with Liz. The last time we put out a video was our “We Three Kings/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” duet and we finally got around to a follow-up two years, a new house and an extra 80 pounds of Husky later — the fur balls were kind enough to nap in the other room the entire time we were recording.

So here’s our spin on the *consent* version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” by Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski. As always, you can download your own copy of the song for free at my bandcamp page, along with the rest of the One Wood Uke tracks.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

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The problem with being in a relationship with a blogger and ukulele player is that said person will inevitably pressure you into recording a duet for YouTube. It’s science, as unavoidable as gravity.

Especially when *you* are a telegenic bombshell with a voice like melted caramel, as is the case with Elizabeth, the hapless woman who has yet to realize she’s miles out of my league.

But her foolish life choices are our gain, as I was able to get her on camera for a mashup of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and We Three Kings, popularized by Barenaked Ladies and Sara McLachlan.

Here’s the video, and you can click over to my bancamp page for a free download. Happy Holidays.

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Merry Xmas to all, and to all an extremely frustrating dive into split-screen editing!

But really though, making this video was a bit of a pain. I had all these lofty ambitions of shooting B-Roll of Christmas lights and Santas Claus and my dog running through the snow, but once I started toying around with the screen-in-screen nonsense I knew that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Plus, we have no snow for Ghost to run through. Thanks Obama (note: I don’t actually think it’s Obama’s fault).

Ever since I started making these Ukulele covers FOUR YEARS AGO (tempis fugit) I’ve wanted to release a Christmas song. I came close a while back with Auld Lang Syne, but that didn’t turn out that well.

*Tangent* about a year after shooting that video I was at a party where this woman was talking about a New Year’s Eve where she went to a pig roast and there was this guy playing crappy ukulele songs.

Me: In Sugar House?

Her: Yup.

Me: Yeah…I was that guy.

*/Tangent*

Anyway, I grew up in the 90s so Blues Traveler is a thing for me (dat harmonica doe!) . That includes “Christmas,” their pan-holiday single from 1997.

I’ve been rocking out to this song every winter since I was in junior high school, and about a month ago started entertaining the idea of recording a One Wood Uke version.

I dig any time I get to harmonize with myself (it turns out I’m the perfect duet partner…for me) and Christmas has that in spades. I actually had to dial down the number of tracks since BT goes kind of crazy toward the end of the song and my limited editing ability couldn’t match it.

Enjoy! As always it’s available at my bandcamp site for a free download. No Xmas 2015 mix is complete without it!

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I participated in my first Ukulele competition, although “competition” in this case is a very loose term.

Little Logan Utah (population 49,000) decided to hold the Utah Ukulele Festival last month. As it turns out, it’s one of several “Utah” ukulele festivals held in the state, and would much more accurately have been labeled the Cache County Ukulele Festival.

Still, it was charming and exactly what I expected it would be. And since we were camping in the area already (more on that later) we decided to stop by.

The festival was mostly centered around an open mic competition, split into two age divisions of 14 and younger or 15 and older. There were also a few vendors, with both high- and low-end ukuleles for sale.

The kids’ division was a hoot, including two separate renditions of Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours” in which the performers struggled over the syllabic gymnastics of removing “God” and “Damn” from the lyrics.

I performed “June Hymn” by the Decemberists. In the end I think I got demerits for not performing an original song but that was fine because the winner really did steal the show, playing a great tune about saying goodbye to her boyfriend.

Liz filmed my song, which you can watch above. I tried to crop it as best I could but unfortunately my girlfriend is that type of person who films vertically. We’ve talked about it. That, and her opinion of Tom Cruise, are the two most challenging divisions in our relationship.

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The festival came at the end of our trip, which started with a campout in Logan Canyon and a hike up to the wind caves. This was the first time we’ve attempted a Family Camping Trip and I’d say it was, overall a success, although some members of our group were less inclined toward the finer points of outdoor adventuring.

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We also took advantage of the trip to make a detour up to Bear Lake, where we paddled around and got some lunch at La Beau’s. Liz isn’t from Utah, so I explained to her that we are a La Beau’s family and will never, under any circumstances, eat at the Quick N Tasty, which is neither Quick nor Tasty.

Also, because it cracks me up, here’s a picture of Truman creepily staring at us through the tent screen like Paranormal Activity rather than go play in the great outdoors.

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photo 1(1)Welcome to a new year here at Wood’s Stock! As always, January brings with it some changes to the site, most notably the updates to the archive now that last year’s long-term project is over.

First the bad news.

Normally I would use this space to announce my new ongoing project for the year but after A Quarter Century, My Life Online and Treat Yo Self I’m sorry to report that I will not be launching a new venture…yet.

I was considering a few different ideas but I didn’t feel 100% about any of them. And with my new gig as a contributor to the EW Community and my work with the Utah Screenwriters Project only about halfway done I was worried about having the time to fully commit to a new project (there’s also the issue of my day job, which takes up a fair amount of time. Gotta pay dem bills.)

So I’m hopeful that before long we’ll get something up and going for 2015. But fear not, because there’s still going to be plenty of new content dropping here on Wood’s Stock, including new movie and television reviews, free Ukulele music, photo collections and other scattered nonsense.

Now for some shopkeeping items. If you look at the top of the Wood’s Stock homepage you’ll notice that the My Life Online tab is no more. I love that project and I hate to get rid of its visibility, but I needed to make space for the new Treat Yo Self tab, which provides a nice one-stop shop if you want to catch up on any of the posts you missed or read the whole adventure from my barbershop shave with Adam to my sugar body scrub with Liz.

And as always, under the Articles tab you can find links to the A Quarter Century and now the My Life Online project. And don’t forget to check out the latest One Wood Uke music (including a brand new cover of The Head and The Heart’s Fire/Fear) and if you haven’t yet, make sure to read the excerpt from Committing, which turned 1 year old last month.

Thanks for reading guys. I appreciate your support and feedback.

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10553410_10204449416380343_7121517607838412198_nAnyone want some free ukulele music for the new year?

I know I haven’t posted much by way of One Wood Uke lately, but some things just can’t be rushed. I actually started working on this song in September while I was busking at our local farmers market (I’m also drinking Kombucha while I type this — hipster overload!!!) but then I got busy with my new job and before I knew it, it was the holiday season.

Fire/Fear (by The Head and the Heart) just didn’t seem right for a Christmas release, with its pining lyrics and lilting mood, but it’s absolutely perfect for January, the worst month of the year.

I mean, right? I’ve lived most of my life in Utah where January is a seemingly interminable tedium of inversion-bogged, dreary lifelessness. It doesn’t help anything that it’s also my birth month, since birthdays fill me with a creeping dread of mortality and a sense of wasted potential. Time: that unstoppable monster that devours all things.

But even if you’re not, like me, in the throes of seasonal affective disorder, this song is still for you 🙂 Sure it’s about heartbreak, but it’s also about hope. Right? I don’t know. I just like it.

The other reason it took me until January is because when I left my old job in October, I left behind the company-issued MacBook that came with it. Now, I’m not an Apple absolutist like some, but my personal computer was a rather dismal Asus that I had purchased on the cheap in 2012 and barely used since then. It wasn’t up to the task.

But now I’m back on a MacBook and it feels (and hopefully sounds) so right!

As always, head on over to bandcamp for a free download of the song. And if you can tell me in the comments the two places where I messed up you get a special prize.

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