Ukulele expert and all-around nice guy Jake Shimabukuro is releasing a LIVE albumn on April 14.
While this news may not trip your triggers, those of us who follow the young ukulele virtuoso are beyond delighted.
Maybe you've caught him on Letterman or Leno or, if you're very, very lucky, you've seen him in person at the House of Blues in Dallas or when he sits in with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band. The guy is phenomenal. His version of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is one for the ages. It absolutely stops the show every time.
His cover of the national anthem is so full of emotion, you'll weep at the end.
David Rubien of the San Francisco Chronicle says, "In recent times, what with the economy tanking and the country depeleted on a number of fronts, it hasn't always felt great to be an American.
"One can't help feeling proud, though, when Jake Shimabukuro plays 'The Star-Spangled Banner' on the ukulele. Not only does his incredibe interpretation elevate the anthem to something much more than we expect of it musically, but the fact that Shimabukuro is also a person of color - he's a Hawaiian-born American citizen of Japanese extraction - shows once again the endless capacity of this country to renew itself. ... The tune rarely has packed such an emotional punch, and you won't believe sounds like that could possibly be made on a ukulele ... the instrument associated with luaus and Tin Pan Alley shtick."
Besides being incredibly gifted, Shimabukuro is one of the nicest people on the planet. He was raised on Oahu and he carries the spirit of Aloha with him. After a show, he will stand in line as long as it takes to meet and greet his fans. There are no burly bodyguards rushing people through the line, either. Jake visits with everyone and he seems to revel in each conversation. I've interviewed him for the paper and seen him at the House of Blues. What a sweetheart.
Can't wait for the commute home tonight so I can roll down the windows, plug in the CD and crank up the volume. Jake's music and joy is exactly what I need these days.
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