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Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Bry Harris

I became a Kala Ukulele artist a few months ago and I have been interviewing some of the other Kala musicians in order to get to know them better (and hopefully help others to get to know them as well). Since I am waiting to hear from some of the other Kala artists, I thought I would share my own story as an introduction to the Kala community. I have really fallen in love with the Ukulele in recent years and view myself as a “Ukulele Ambassador” of sorts…. In addition to our band (the Parrot Island Band), I love to take the Ukulele into schools (and to senior groups) and teach them about the Ukulele. Since I have added the Uke as the main acoustic instrument in the band (in place of guitar), I have had many wonderful conversations about the Uke and I have made several “converts” to this neat instrument.

Bry Harris Kala Brand Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

I grew up in Tidewater, Virginia, and have had been drawn to the memories of lakes, rivers and the ocean ever since. When I graduated from high school, I was named “most likely to open for Jimmy Buffett” (ok, it was a ‘tongue in cheek” accolade and officially it was something like… “in 5 years Bryant will likely open for Jimmy Buffett”- but time has morphed into the “most likely to” reference :)).

While I did play in bars and restaurants for awhile in college, I took and extended break from music (about 25 years!) and began playing again for others around 2006. I started a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band that now includes my wife (steel pan) and good friend, Kevin Garrelts, (congas) and myself (vocals, guitar and, of course, Ukulele). While we started as a cover band, I have written around 30 songs that we add to our set lists and they have been very well received.

We recorded a Trop Rock CD, Parrot Island Getaway, which consists of original songs and has been played on Internet radio stations from Key West to California, New York to Alaska and even Canada. The Parrot Island Band has been nominated 3 times as Trop Rock duo/trio of the year at the Trop Rock awards that is held in Key West, Florida.

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“I currently live in Acworth, Georgia… about 45 minutes to an hour north of Atlanta.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old in the 70’s. I was influenced by the likes of James Taylor, Grand Funk Railroad, the Eagles, many of the great singer/songwriters of my youth such as Dan Fogelberg and Harry Chapin. Probably the biggest influence on my music (and no surprise to those who know me) was Jimmy Buffett. I loved his fun-loving persona and tropical themed music. Jimmy’s music still influences me today!

“In addition to Jimmy Buffett, the music that I listen to today comes from a broad range of “Trop Rock” musicians that paint musical scenes of beaches and palm trees but are not necessarily known to the general public. I love musicians who play because of their passion for music… but like me, may never play in front of large crowds or on mainstream radio.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I have only been playing the Ukulele for a couple of years but I have definitely been bitten by the bug. I keep a Ukulele out at home to play while watching TV or just for the fun of it (and to relax and work on new song ideas). I also have another Uke in my office and take a break now and then to play a few chords (I find it boosts my creativity and makes the rest of my work day more enjoyable).”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I play the Kala Acacia Tenor (KA-ASAC-T) with an added MiSi pickup. I also keep a Kala Long-neck Soprano (KA SLNG) in my office. I use this Uke when I go to preschools or elementary schools to teach them about the Ukulele (or sometimes just the letter “U”!).”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Our first CD, Parrot Island Getaway, has been out for a few years now so I should be announcing our next CD (but we are still trying to figure out a way to get moving on that). I have written enough songs for a new CD and my plan is that when it comes out, it will be one that features the Uke, steel pan, congas and U-bass (so if there is anyone out there wanting to help us get this going, just let me know ;-)).”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Q: Jimmy Buffett is on the phone and wants to know if you would like to have lunch and play a few songs together?”

“A: Let me check my calendar and call you back (JUST KIDDING! ;-)) Yes, just let me know where to go… I’ll be right there!”

I get an extra question since this is my idea… 😉

“Q: Why did you switch from playing guitar to Ukulele?”

“A: While I have always loved playing the guitar, there is something about the Ukulele that relaxes me and moves me in a deep way. I feel as if I should have been playing the Ukulele all my life and that it is part of my “purpose in life” (to play the Uke and somehow bring joy to others through it). I am just beginning to explore how the Uke will be a part of this next chapter in my life and I am really looking forward to discovering the answer….”

All for now

I hope I can get in touch with some of the other Kala Ukulele artists and have more of these interviews in months to come… until then, pick up a Ukulele… strum a happy song and make someone smile…

Peace, Love and Ukulele

Bry Harris

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Ukulele Artist

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Jesse Daniel Edwards

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Jesse Daniel Edwards (Jay Smart of the Smart Brothers)

I have enjoyed getting to know some of the Kala Ukulele artists and although I am almost done with those I have been able to reach so far, I hope I will catch up with some more over time. Thanks to Jesse Daniel Edwards (Jay Smart of the Smart Brothers) for giving us a chance to get to know him a little better.

Bio (taken from jessedanieledwards.com/about/)

Kala artist Jesse Daniel Edwards

Jesse Edwards' first language was music.

"I loved hearing my granddad sing songs from the "Sound of Music" while strumming his ancient uke. I learned to play by watching and listening at his feet at the ripe old age of 4."
Born with a love of music and a natural talent for singing and picking up pretty much any instrument he got his hands on, Jesse studied guitar, bass, drums, piano, clarinet, saxophone, and the oboe growing up. In Jesse's teen years, his classical training clashed with his many punk and heavy metal bands. Since then, he has adopted a unique blend of folk and roots music as his characteristic style.

"I spent a lot of time touring around the US with my brother and we cut our teeth in towns like Nashville and Atlanta. As a result, the music of the region, specifically the Southern roots and folk music of Appalachia have really affected me artistically," Jesse says of his inspiration and sound.

Jesse has recorded 3 nationally-released albums, 4 solo albums, and 2 live albums – as well as music for an independent film. He has toured professionally on the festival and college circuits for the past 4 years in the US and abroad where he has shared the stage with notable acts including Matt Costa, John Prine, Roger Clyne, & The Squirrel Nut Zippers. His award-winning songs have been featured in radio, TV, and film and are available on ITunes, Amazon, Verizon V-Cast, and Napster. He lives in Carlsbad, CA, and is an officially endorsed Kala Ukulele artist.

 

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Current home: Running Springs, CA”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

“Earliest musical influences: gospel and traditional music. It was all my brothers, sisters and I were allowed to listen to.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“Started on the uke at age 6, listening and watching at my granddad’s feet as he played old family songs.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I play a Kala tenor.”

Kala artist JaySmart

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Not on the road at the moment; heading in to the studio though to work on an acoustic album which will be out in the summer.”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Have you ever performed Bohemian Rhapsody on solo Uke? The answer: hell yes.”

You can find Jesse at jessedanieledwards.com

www.facebook.com/thesmartbrothers

Here at the Parrot Island Band, Linda (my wife and steel pan player) and I had a fun day playing at a surprise wedding shower and tomorrow we play for a home school prom (we will provide the music while the students are having pictures taken) and then I get to share a few “words of wisdom” to the students between dinner and their dance… still trying to figure out how to work the Uke into this part but sure I’ll think of something. 😉 Until next week….

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry aa

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Justin Fox

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Justin Fox

As I have been reminded in these interviews, not only do musicians have a variety of musical styles, but we also have a great deal of diversity in backgrounds and personal lives. With Easter just a few days away, I thought it would be a good week to post my Kala Uke artist interview with Justin Fox who is using his music (including his Ukuleles) to reach out to others in faith and love…

Kala artist Justin Fox

BIO: (From http://www.justinfox.com/story/)

“My dad is a forester, my mom is a folk singer…My uncles are butterfly collectors, tile layers, Scientologists, and flamenco dancers…

I was dreaming of being Kris Kristofferson in “Convoy”.  I wanted to be a truck driver.

In 1989, while playing Poison’s “Fallen Angel” to a packed crowd of screaming teenagers, I felt God tap me on the shoulder. We were driving home the last few songs of our set, the energy was building, and as I took in the moment, peering through the smoke and the lights, caught in the audience’s joyful response, it seemed like I heard God quietly say, “I want you to do this.”

A few years later: 1993, still before the age of the Internet, email, cell phones, Chris Tomlin, Delirious, or Third Day… I began the adventure of my life, visiting youth groups, camps, and Sunday services with just a batch of original songs, a trunk of cassette tapes and my acoustic guitar. I was on a brand new road to where music was going in church, and logging hundreds of thousands of lonely miles up and down California, at odd hours of the day and night, joining the rushing current of 18 wheelers, I realized I had finally got my wish…

I was a truck driver!

I graduated in 1993 from Bethany University in Santa Cruz.  I married Heidi, the love of my life, a week later, and we are thankful to now be celebrating 20 years of marriage.  I’ve produced ten CD’s of original music…oh, and four children. As our kids grew (three teenagers now!), my desire for a more local, close-to-home existence and some dramatic nudging of the Spirit prompted a change.  I had been “on the road”, full-time, for over seventeen years and an opportunity opened up to serve at my local church while attending graduate school at Biola’s Talbot Seminary. Three years later, I have earned an M.A. degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care and will graduate as a licensed spiritual director.

I currently serve as City Pastor to Costa Mesa through ROCKHARBOR Church, lead worship at Lighthouse Community and other various venues, write for David C. Cook’s TRU discipleship curriculum, and accompany college students as a spiritual director at Biola University.”

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

Costa Mesa, CA

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

Earliest musical influences: Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Beach Boys

Current musical influences: Jack Johnson, Black Keys, Mumford & Sons

Kala artist justin Fox b

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

Seven years ago

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

Two gorgeous soprano ukes – one with dark wood and traditional stylings and one that's lighter with modern elements including a pickup with EQ and Tuner!

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

My first Uke recording was "Handiwork" and that set me on the journey.

Here's the track:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/handiwork/id118443388?i=118443099

You can find Justin at http://www.justinfox.com/

This week, I (Bry/Parrot Island Band) was invited to Open Arms Preschool in Acworth, GA to introduce the Ukulele as they learn the letter “U”. I love sharing the Uke with young and old alike and the kids had a great time and were very well behaved. While we usually play for adults (corporate events, neighborhood parties, private events, etc.), this was a fun time that I’m glad I could be involved in…

Until next time…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Stuart Fuchs

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Stuart Fuchs

As another week starts, it is time for another Kala Ukulele artist interview– this time we hear from Stuart Fuchs. From the sound of things, Stuart is very busy… thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, Stuart!

If you live in the Tampa, Florida area- stop by and visit Stuart… here is some information Stuart sent me last week, “I'll be giving a Ukulele clinic on Tuesday 3/26 @ Sam Ash in Tampa…the Dale Mabry location.  The details are at www.stufchs.com on my calendar.”

For the rest of us, here is some more information on Stuart and his Ukulele travels…

Kala Uke artist Stuart Fuchs

BIO: (http://www.stufuchs.com/about-stu/)

Stuart Fuchs is a performing artist, multi-instrumentalist, music educator & workshop facilitator.  He plays everything he can get his hands on, but specializes in Ukulele, Gypsy Jazz & Classical Guitar, Didjeridoo, and Percussion.

“Stuart travels the world with his collection of instruments and loves to spread joy through music, with spontaneous (and scheduled) acts of musical kindness.  Have you ever been treated to a spontaneous serenade in an airport gate, or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office?  If you heard soulful and peaceful refrains coming from a smiling Ukulele player, that was Stu.

“Stuart Fuchs has worked as a performing musician, teaching artist & workshop facilitator for nearly 20 years—playing many styles of music on Guitar, Ukulele & healing music on overtone rich instruments such as Tibetan Singing Bowls and the Aboriginal Didjeridoo.  Stuart has been called a “modern day pied piper” and has performed & taught music to a diverse array of populations—from corporate executives & toy designers at Fisher-Price Inc., developmentally disabled adults, juvenile offenders, and hospice patients.  Stuart believes passionately in the healing power of music to be a vehicle for personal expression & wellness—he finds great joy & purpose in guiding individuals into a more humanistic and natural experience of their innate musicality.”

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“In my sweetheart's arms!  No, really, I was born in the Bronx, NYC.  Home for 17 years has been Buffalo, NY.”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

“Earliest? My Father was a classical guitarist & I grew up listening to him play.  At a very tender age, he taught me a few things about it & then let me have one of his guitars.  I would take it into the woods and then try to make the sounds of birds.  

First music that made me want to play was George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue & my sister's David Bowie & Beatles LP records. Songs by Monty Python, Pink Floyd & Jimi Hendrix were what I first learned to play. Currently listen to just about anything that has soul & is not overly produced.  I'm open to a lot.  I love roots music of America, Indian classical music, jazz, New Orleans funk, Classical, The Rolling Stones, Django Reinhardt….I'll stop now :)”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“First Uke was a cheap-o soprano in 2001.  I had no idea what it was, I just knew I wanted a small axe to play on the bus & cheer me up during Buffalo's bitter winters.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“My endorsement with Kala was sealed with a Marcy Marxer signature Uke.  The fine fellows at Kala's shop set it up just as I like it & IT SMOKES! (Thank you Ryan & Crew!)”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Yes indeed!  On 3/3/13 I released my first SOLO CD called "Stukulele". You can hear and buy it at http://stukulele.bandcamp.com/album/stukulele.  I have also launched a NEW WEBSITE at http://www.stufuchs.com/.

I am currently touring with Bhakti Yoga/Kirtan artists David Newman & Mira, accompanying them with my guitar & Ukulele…singing ancient & very healing Sanskrit Mantras.  It's a meditation method & a limb of Yoga known as "The Yoga of the Heart".  Look up "Kirtan" for more.”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Q) What is the best palindrome you've ever heard?  

A) "I'm a lasagna hog.  Go hang a salami". “

(Stuart… you got me there… I learned something today… I had to go look this up.  😉 For the rest of us, a palindrome “is that peculiar marvel of language when words or sentences read the same forward and backward” Good one!)

Kala Uke artist Stuart Fuchs

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find Stuart at:

http://www.facebook.com/StukuleleStuartFuchsMusic

http://www.stufuchs.com/

From here on Parrot Island (yes, it’s a state of mind, but I spend so much time here that sometimes it’s hard to remember I’m not really ON an island :))… I hope everyone’s week is filled with sunshine, palm trees and the sound of Kala Ukuleles (that’s your cue… get off the computer and go play your Uke!)

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Ian Clarkson

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Ian Clarkson

In today’s installment of Kala Ukulele artist interviews, we get to catch up a bit with Ian Clarkson of the musical group, the “Jive Aces”.  Although Ian is from the UK, he and the Jive Aces will be in Tampa this coming week, on March 14th at the Zendah Grotto 4450 W. Ohio Ave, Tampa, FL (from 8-11:30). For me, this is a case of “so close and yet so far”, as we (the Parrot Island Band from Atlanta, GA) were just in Tampa last week for a gig. All I can say Ian, is that I hope it is warmer for you (Bring them Sunshine Ian!) than it was for us…brrrrrr (it was cold and windy for our event ;-)).

Kala artist Ian Clarkson 1a

Bio: Ian Clarkson is the lead vocalist, trumpet and Ukulele player for the Jive Aces, the UK’s No.1 Jive and Swing band. (from http://www.jiveaces.com/who_are/ian.html):

“Ian was born in the Liverpool area and lived only a few doors away from Paul McCartney’s brother. He then moved to Essex and London, hence his current accent.

He began singing when he was a boy and would entertain his family with song and dance and whole theatrical shows which he would put on with his sister in the Clarkson family home for guests.

He soon went to London to sing and learn trumpet and it was in the smoke-filled jazzy nightclubs of the capital that he met most of the Jive Aces.

Ian’s cool singing style, hot trumpet and hip showmanship put him centre stage as the front man and he pulls it off with ease in a style reminiscent of Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima and Dean Martin all rolled into one.”

Kala artist Ian Clarkson

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Currently home is on the Kent/Sussex border in sunny England. It is easier for the band to live near each other and it's nice to live in the country but also be so close to London for gigs.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I started off as a kid listening to Elvis. As I grew older, 14/15, I was interested in whom his influences were and so sort of worked my way back into blues and other American roots music, all while my friends were getting into whatever the radio or disco was playing. 

“So my influences were and are everything from early New Orleans Jazz, blues, swing and hillbilly up to 50's R&B, rock ‘n roll and very early soul. I also loved crooners like Bing, Sinatra and Dino and Nat King Cole.

“One of the bands biggest influences is Louis Prima, hence the latest album being a salute to him.

“On this album is our version of “Bring Me Sunshine” which although Prima didn't perform, we thought summed up the joy he put in his music, and that we hope we do too. Plus it was one of the first songs I played Uke with the band – I had the honor of playing it personally for HRH Prince Charles who loved it and was very interested in the Uke, stopping to chat about it for a while.” 

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I only properly started playing about three years ago when my wife bought me one for Christmas after I had been playing on Uke nut Kaplan Kaye's lovely Kala. I was instantly in love and very soon I had acquired a few Ukes and a couple of Banjoleles. When I started, I didn't know it was going to catch on so much in the UK, but it seemed to spread like wild fire. All of a sudden when I played Uke with the band, the fans and friends loved it and many started playing Uke themselves. Uke builds a sort of friendly community around it. Unlike most other instruments, it isn't egotistical or financially driven, it's all good fun and about sharing, I like that. 

“I used to play guitar when I was a young kid before I started trumpet. I played mainly rhythm on blues and rockabilly stuff at the time and then gave it up. I always wanted to start playing again but just didn't get around to it. When I found the Uke, I realized this is what I needed. It fell under my fingers, I could take one anywhere and it was such a happy sound, it made people smile when you played it – and I'm all about cheering people up. 🙂

“Oddly enough, a short while ago, an ex girlfriend posted a shot of me playing her Uke from about a hundred years ago and I didn't even remember it. I thought I'd never touched one until just a few years ago.” 

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I mainly play my two Kala concerts, my custom painted yellow "Bring Me Sunshine" model, of course. And I still have my little soprano yellow Makala that I played in the Sunshine video. I actually recorded on that too. One of the things I love about Uke is that you can also grab the lower end soprano Uke and get a great little sound out of it. Most of our recordings now have Uke on it, even if it’s only me playing rhythm, instead of the usual rhythm guitar.

“I'd like to try a Tenor though and also get a high end soprano for fun.” 

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Ooh I think sometimes we have soooo many projects on the go… We are currently touring to promote our latest album “King of the Swingers: A Salute to Louis Prima” which is going very well. We have a lot of theatre dates as well as festivals and dances, etc. 

“In April we are back in the US playing in LA and DC and also recording our next album, a Christmas CD, plus filming another video. 

“In the summer, we have the Satin Dollz coming over to the UK to tour with us. We mainly work with them in LA. If you have ever seen one of my little tutorials, the Dollz are always featured. When they first toured with me, I got them into Uke (as it is infectious) and now they all play Uke, and look great while doing it. Check them out; they even do ukeograms too….

“We also have some shows coming up featuring our Skiffle Combo which features me on Uke and our saxman switches to fiddle and Al, our trombonist, plays washboard. Skiffle is great for Uke and is both fun and exciting. (We also recorded a skiffle CD called “Its Skiffle Time!” – which was great fun to record).” 

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

Q)"Would you like my collection of vintage Ukes?"

A) "Yes, please"

You can find Ian at:

http://www.jiveaces.com

http://www.facebook.com/jiveaces

I’m enjoying these interviews so far for a number of reasons. Not only do these Kala artists have a great variety of musical backgrounds, but they seem to have a shared love for music (and especially the Ukulele) that is contagious. Everyone has been so cooperative in answering these questions… I have several more to go and look forward to sharing more Kala Ukulele artists’ interviews in the weeks ahead.

Have a great visit to Florida, Ian…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry aa

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Heidi Swedberg

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Heidi Swedberg

Continuing my quest to get to know other Kala Ukulele artists, today I share my interview with Heidi Swedberg. I love to hear from musicians like Heidi who are teaching and sharing music (especially Ukulele!) with the next generation. Thanks to Heidi for taking the time to share some of her thoughts and answers…

Kala Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

BIO (from Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band's Sonicbids EPK and  http://sukeyjumpmusic.com/)

“Actress/musician Heidi Swedberg (Seinfeld, Galaxy Quest) loves to share the joy of music with people of all ages.  She and her partner, Daniel Ward, make beautiful music together. They believe in the incredible power that being a music producer (not just passive consumer) can bring to all people, and believe we all have a song in our soul to share.

“When Heidi was 5 years old, she received her first ukulele from the Hawaiian Easter bunny while living in Kailua, HI. She has fond memories of teaching herself chords and writing songs in her room in Albuquerque, NM, the place she thinks of as home. She picked the instrument up again in 1992 in Hollywood, CA, while playing a singer-songwriter for a network TV pilot. Now life imitates art and she plays a singer-songwriter-teacher full time.

“She recorded her first album this summer in Albuquerque. Play is a family fun ukulele album which encourages you to pick up the instrument and play along.”

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Los Angeles, CA is my physical home, but NM will always house my heart.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I have three older sisters and my parents were dynamic Girl Scout Troup leaders for them. My earliest musical influence was the voices of my family and a gaggle of girls singing from the scout songbook. We sang in cars, around the piano and around campsites. It was how we were pacified and entertained. I hope to record one of my favorite songs we sang together for our next CD.

“Current musical influences are as wide as the world and include everyone I meet. I was recently in Haiti teaching ukulele at an orphanage. The kids there taught me a song which we have recorded… I love to learn songs wherever I go. A mom from Panama taught me another song that will be on the new album. If you have one to share with me, be prepared to see me adopt it!”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I got my first ukulele when I was 5. My family lived in Hawaii and the Easter bunny brought one for each of us in our Easter baskets. One of my sisters still has hers. Wish I had mine, but I loaned it to a boyfriend in high school. Many years later he returned a mandolin in its place.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I use a UBass in my band. It has a great sound, easy to travel with and is a conversation starter. A school where I teach has a bunch of Kala Baritones. I play one every week along with a chorus of 35 middle schoolers.”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“We are working on our new CD "My Cup Of Tea" and anticipate a spring release. Right now we have 17 songs from around the world, mostly in the folk tradition, but some pop covers as well. The instrumentation includes xylophone, tuba, guitar, stand up and electric bass, all manners of percussion, horns… and always ukulele. There will be a booklet included (like my last CD) which includes all lyrics and chords.

“We will be doing a spring tour from LA to Kansas City, where we will play the kid's festival Jiggle Jam on Memorial Day weekend. Dates will be available on my blog soon!”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has?

“Where can we send you monetary support?
To my Kickstarter campaign, which is coming soon! Until then, you can buy our first CD and sign up for our newsletter on my blog.

Kala Heidi a

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also find Heidi at:

Heidi’s blog http://sukeyjumpmusic.wordpress.com/

Website  http://sukeyjumpmusic.com/

On a personal note, I (Bry) picked up a new Kala Uke this week- the Kala Acacia Tenor (with a Mi-Si pickup added at the Kala custom shop).  Not only is this a beautiful Uke but it sounds FANTASTIC! The Parrot Island Band played the Music on the Bay event in Tampa, FL, this weekend and with over 700 in attendance, the active pickup system provided the needed volume (without sacrificing tone).

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry and the Parrot Island Band

I’m in a Ukulele State of Mind

I’m in a Ukulele State of Mind

I’m in a Ukulele state of mind. That’s right. The Ukulele puts a smile on my face and relaxes me when I am stressed out. I cannot hold a negative thought in my mind while I am playing the Ukulele.

Whether with the Parrot Island Band (a Trop rock Jimmy Buffett tribute band in Atlanta, Georgia), or playing by myself… the Ukulele has become a source of relaxation and joy. While noodling  (a technical term meaning “just messing around”) on my Ukulele last week, I wrote this song I’m in a Ukulele State of Mind:

 

I’m in a Ukulele State of Mind

Chorus)

My ukulele puts a smile on my face

My ukulele takes me to a good place

I’m feeling better all the time

I’m in a ukulele state of mind

No matter what I’m going through

I know just where to turn yes I do

Everything is better all my skies are blue

What could a ukulele do for you?

Chorus)

My ukulele puts a smile on my face

My ukulele takes me to a good place

I’m feeling better all the time

I’m in a ukulele state of mind

When it’s hard for me to smile… sometimes,

I try to change my thoughts this is what I find

My ukulele it never fails me

It puts me back on island time

Chorus)

My ukulele puts a smile on my face

My ukulele takes me to a good place

I’m feeling better all the time

I’m in a ukulele state of mind

Bridge

I close my eyes and take it in

Hear the sound of peace feel the joy within

Chorus)

My ukulele puts a smile on my face

My ukulele takes me to a good place

I’m feeling better all the time

I’m in a ukulele state of mind

A “Ukulele state of mind” is a great place to be. For me it is a place of beaches, palm trees and smiling faces.  Feeling stressed or worn out? Maybe you should pick up a Ukulele and strum yourself to a happy place… I’ll be there waiting with my Uke…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry

Old Man and the Sea

 

Old Man and the Sea

Old Man and the Sea. They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so I’ll keep this post short.:) This picture was taken a few weeks ago while we (the Parrot Island Band, a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia) were in St. Augustine, Florida. We played as part of the A1A Beaches Parrot Head Club’s Beach Bash event.

Bry Harris play Eddy Finn Ukele to relax

As you can tell by the smile on my face, I love sitting on the beach… I also love playing my Eddy Finn Ukulele (or uke for short).  What better than to combine the two and sit by the ocean, reflect on the beauty and play a few songs… I did… as Jimmy Buffett sings, “I want to go back”… “Someday, I will”…

Beaches and blessings

Honey I Shrunk My Guitar!

Honey, I Shrunk My Guitar!

If you have been following the Parrot Island Band lately you will see me (Bry) with a lot of pictures holding a ukulele (sometimes called uke). At some point during our gigs, I will usually say something to the affect that my favorite guitar was left out in the rain and Linda tossed it in the dryer… causing it to shrink. 🙂

Bry Harris loves his Eddy Finn Uke a Trop Rock Favorite

My very first guitar was an Epiphone Nylon String/Classical guitar. At the age of twelve, I was given my guitar and a few group lessons at the local YMCA. We also had a “bluegrass club” at high school where students taught each other songs by groups such as the Eagles, James Taylor and yes, Jimmy Buffett (to name a few).  [Yeah, I know these aren’t bluegrass musicians, but that’s the only way we could get together and play the songs we liked.] Beyond the YMCA and friends at school, I have found many excellent musicians over the years who were willing to share their talent and musical knowledge…thanks!

While I have had numerous guitars over the years, I have always enjoyed the sound and feel of the nylon string guitar. About a year ago, I picked up a ukulele while in a local music store and enjoyed the similar sound that the ukulele makes to that found in the nylon string guitar (a little more mellow and strings that are a little easier on the fingers).

I have found the ukulele to be a very relaxing instrument. It has been said that you can’t play a sad song on the ukulele. I am not sure if that is true but I know that playing the ukulele usually puts me in a good mood.

Parrot Island Band plays Eddy Finn Ukulele

The ukulele is easy to take with you when you are traveling and a great instrument to have in the office. I keep one at home and one at work, often pausing for a few minutes to relax and play a song or two before getting back to whatever project is in front of me. The ukulele is also a great instrument to have with you when sitting at the beach. 🙂 While at St. Augustine Beach last week, I had a great time sitting beside the ocean and playing some relaxing uke music.

Jimmy Buffett Tribute band Trop UKES

While I would have said a few months ago that I was a guitar player who dabbled in ukuleles, I now feel more like a ukulele player who plays a little guitar. I still have a lot to learn about playing the ukulele and it will take continued playing until it feels as natural as playing the guitar. That being said, I am glad to have added to the ukulele to my life.

As an added bonus to having picked up the ukulele, I have also become an official “endorsing artist/musician” for the Eddy Finn Ukulele Company. The Eddy Finn Ukes are not only great sounding instruments but they are reasonably priced for the average person. Add a “fin” to the sound hole and market it as a ukulele for those who love islands and beaches… and you have a perfect match between the Eddy Finn Ukulele and the Parrot Island Band (a Trop Rock -Jimmy Buffett tribute trio from Atlanta, Georgia).

Looking for a new instrument to learn? Why not consider the ukulele (and an Eddy Finn Ukulele at that)? Affordable. Highly portable. The ladies love them (OK, I can’t speak for ALL ladies, but my wife, Linda, and this really cute three year old at our last gig think they are cool). Easy to learn to play. Relaxing and…FUN! What are you waiting for? Put on your flip flops and go get a ukulele!!

Beaches and blessings

Eddy Finn “Ukulele Ambassador”

Eddy Finn "Ukulele Ambassador"

As some of my friends have seen over the last month or so, I have become an “official” Eddy Finn Ukulele Musician/Endorser. I like to think of myself as an Eddy Finn “Ukulele Ambassador”, spreading the good news and fun sounds of this great line of ukuleles (sometimes refered to as "ukes")….

Bry and his new Eddy Finn Ukulele

While the Parrot Island Band has been playing as a Trop Rock/ Jimmy Buffett tribute band (here in Atlanta, Georgia) for several years now, our sound continues to evolve.  Replacing the drums with congas and getting smaller (moving from 4 piece band to a duo/trio group), we have gravitated to a sound that you might associate with palm trees and island breezes.

Parrot Island Band plays Eddy Finn Ukulele

This year, we have also added the ukulele to the band, as I (Bry) have enjoyed learning to play this fun instrument over the last couple of years. A few months ago, I went to a local ukulele store (Uke Republic) and owner, Mike McQueen showed me around and answered my numerous questions about his store and the dozens of ukuleles that were on the wall.

Parrot Island Band buys their Eddy Finns at Uke Republic

One ukulele that caught my eye in particular was an Eddy Finn Ukulele.  Not only are these ukuleles fun to look at (the sound hole is in the shape of a shark fin, a symbol that is often associated with Jimmy Buffett and his song, “Fins”), but Eddy Finn Ukuleles also have a beautiful tone as well.

The Eddy Finn slogan is “play to your senses”.  They even have a patented smell that leaves you dreaming of a tropical beach somewhere. I ended up buying a Spruce/Tenor Eddy Finn Ukulele that has just come out on the market. This beautiful ukulele has a built in tuner and pickup that has helped me blend in with our other instruments (steel pan and congas).

Linda sporting her Eddy Finn magnet

Since I have already taken my new ukulele to several local gigs, it is time to take it on a road trip. Look for pictures on http://www.facebook.com/ParrotIslandBand  as the Parrot Island Band heads to St Augustine, FL, to play in A1A Beaches Parrot Head Club’s event, “Beach Bash and Volley Ball Tournament”. We will be playing July 14th by the pool from 12-3pm and I (Bry) will have my Eddy Finn Ukulele with me, playing both Jimmy Buffett tunes with an island flavor… but also adding as many Trop Rock originals as we can fit in.

I also look forward to sitting by the beach and strumming on the ukulele…maybe there is a new song to be written as I sit back and enjoy the view…

Bry Harris is Edyy Finn "ukulele ambassador"

 

Beaches and blessings,