Saturday, July 29, 2017

Nursing home gig 7/29/2017

Great gig today, my first time in about a month, I think?  Anyway, there were two new people there who have been playing with the band for a few weeks now, but this was my first time with them since I've been gone so long.  One fiddler (James) and one drummer!  This was the first time I've played with a drummer since I was in jazz band in college.  He was really good and sat right behind me so I had this perfect metronome in my ears the whole time.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  So here's the set list.

Pick Me Up On Your Way Down - Otis
Bonaparte's Retreat - James (instrumental, fiddle)
The Lover's Waltz - Mac (instrumental, fiddle)
Cry, Cry Darling - me
Alone With You - JoDee
Green Eyes - Carrol (instrumental, guitar)
Jambalaya - Otis
Soldier's Joy - James (instrumental)
A Good Woman's Love - Mac (instrumental)
No One To Cry To - me
Faded Love - JoDee
South - Carrol (instrumental)
Truck Drivin' Man - Otis
I'll Fly Away - Sherri
Mockingbird Hill - James (instrumental)
Tennessee Waltz - Mac (instrumental)
Settin' the Woods On Fire - me
Satin Sheets - JoDee
Harbor Lights - Carrol (instrumental)
Waltz of the Angels - Otis
Red River Valley - Sherri
You Are My Sunshine - James (instrumental)
Rose of San Antone - Mac (instrumental)
Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow - me
Corrine, Corrina - JoDee
Welcome To My World - Carrol (instrumental)
Sunday Will Come Again - Otis
This World is Not My Home - Sherri
Turkey in the Straw - James (instrumental)
Ashoken Farewell - Mac (instrumental)
Goodnight Irene - me
The Old Rugged Cross - Otis

Since all I do is strum rhythmically, I considered myself part of the rhythm section, and with myself, the drummer (whose name I didn't catch), and Don, our bass player, I think we did pretty well keeping the rhythm.  Lots of fun!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Interview with Tom T. Hall

The title of this blog is kind of a pun.  "Ukulele Country" means both "a country with lots of ukulele stuff" as well as "country music on the ukulele."  This post has nothing to do with ukuleles.

My favorite songwriter is Tom T. Hall--an easy guess for anyone familiar with my YouTube channel.  Songcraft:  Conversations With Great Songwriters Podcast has an interview with the great Storyteller.  Go here to hear it:  Tom T. Hall.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Alligator Man

This is a cover of a song written by Jimmy C. Newman.  This was the first time we had played this song together, and I was the only one who was actually familiar with it.  This time, you can hear my ukulele at the beginning as I set the tempo and started the song.

Jole Blon

This is me singing the bilingual lyric version of "Jole Blon" as recorded by Doug Kershaw.  At the local nursing home on July 17, 2017.

Just havin' some fun

Hello, my legions of readers!  Welcome especially if you came here from hearing about this blog on The Songs Stuck in Your Head podcast!  I know there's not much on here right now, but I'm working on it.

I'm behind on posting the usual track list from the nursing home gig.  This list is from last Saturday, June 17.  I'm also going to post a few audio only videos so you can hear some of the stuff we do.

We had a couple of people at the nursing home last time who don't get there very often, so there are a few new songs on the list that we don't usually do.  The guy who usually does the opening and closing songs wasn't there, so I was volunteered to take care of that.

I don't put everyone's last names on here because I don't know if they would agree to that.  I just use first names.  So...Jimmy is an old band-mate of Carrol's.  He plays excellent fiddle and is a great singer.  He has a low, velvety voice that reminds me of Jim Reeves.  I've played with him a couple of times before.  Trish also plays fiddle and sings a little, and this was the first time I had played with her.  So here's the track list.

Settin' the Woods On Fire (me)
Yes Sir, That's My Baby (JoDee)
Danny Boy (Carrol, instrumental)
Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me (Jimmy)
Singing Waterfall (me)
Alone With You (JoDee)
South (Carrol, instrumental)
I Didn't Know God Made Honky Tonk Angels (Jimmy)
Faded Love (Trish, instrumental)
Build Me a Cabin in Gloryland (me)
Crawdad Hole (JoDee)
Down Yonder (instrumental, Carrol)
Spanish Eyes (instrumental, Jimmy and Carrol)
Kate Martin's Waltz (instrumental, Trish)
Jole Blon (me)
Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey (JoDee)
Harbor Lights (instrumental, Carrol and Jimmy)
You Win Again (Jimmy)
The Ranger Waltz (Trish)
I Saw the Light (me)
Heart Over Mind (JoDee)
Green Eyes (instrumental, Carrol)
Still On My Mind (Jimmy)
Rubber Dolly (instrumental, Trish)
Room Full of Roses (me)
Coco Driel (JoDee)
Time Changes Everything (instrumental, Carrol and Jimmy)
didn't catch the title (instrumental, Jimmy and Carrol)
didn't catch the title (instrumental, Trish) I should know this one
Alligator Man (me)
My Darling Clementine (JoDee)
I Love You Because (instrumental, Carrol)
Big Mamou (instrumental and vocals, Trish)
Goodnight Irene (me)

It was a great gig, and I really enjoyed it.  I made one mistake.  I usually take my high-G tenor because it stands out better and is easier to hear, but this time on my way out of the house I accidentally grabbed my low-G tenor, which is pretty much impossible to hear among all those guitars.  New songs that I had never done at the nursing home before were "Settin' the Woods On Fire," "Jole Blon," and "Alligator Man."  The last time Jimmy and I were both there on the same day, he and Carrol had done an instrumental version of "Jole Blon," and I decided to learn the lyrics so I could sing it next time he was there since I knew he could do the fiddle parts.  "Alligator Man" is an old Jimmy Newman song that I wasn't planning on doing, but we had kind of gotten into doing some Cajun music so I thought I'd try it.  Jimmy easily improvised some fiddle parts for it even though he had never played it before, so it worked well.  "Settin' the Woods On Fire" is a Hank Williams song that was pretty easy for everyone to pick up.  I was somewhat familiar with "Big Mamou" because I had covered it for a Season of the Ukulele, but I don't have it all memorized yet and I hadn't printed a lyric sheet, so I didn't offer to sing any of it.  Maybe next time.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Finally, an update...

I was able to play at the nursing home today for the first time in a month.  I had a long night last night and a long day today and I'm feeling pretty worn out right now.  Our usual start/end guy wasn't there today, so I did the first song.  It was me (vocals, ukulele), JoDee (vocals, acoustic guitar), Carrol (electric guitar), Otis (vocals, acoustic guitar), Merri (vocals, fiddle, various percussion), and Larry (harmonica).

All I Have To Offer You Is Me (me)
Sentimental Journey (JoDee)
Down South (Carrol, instrumental)
Pick Me Up On Your Way Down (Otis)
You Are My Sunshine (Merri)
Angel Band (me)
Never On Sunday (Carrol, instrumental)
You Will Never Be Alone (Otis)
Power in the Blood (Merri)
A Fallen Star (me)
It's a Sin To Tell a Lie (JoDee)
Down Yonder (Carrol, instrumental)
Truck Drivin' Man (Otis)
I've Got a Tiger By the Tail (Merri)
Build Me a Cabin in Glory Land (me)
Because He Lives (JoDee)
Harbor Lights (Carrol, instrumental)
Waltz of the Angels (Otis)
Dream a Little Dream of Me (Merri)
Stand By Me (me)
Still In My Heart (JoDee)
Double Eagle (Carrol, instrumental)
Just a Closer Walk With Thee (Otis)
America the Beautiful (Merri)
Singin' the Blues (me)
Hey Good Lookin' (JoDee)
I'm Sorry (Merri)
Goodnight Irene (me)
The Old Rugged Cross (Otis)

A good day, except that I felt exhausted the whole time.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

No update today

Due to technical errors.  The recording app on my phone failed to save the files again.  I do have a few other things to mention, however.

I have been learning to use a program called MuseScore.  This is an open-source (freeware) program for composing music.  I am going to use it to write up some decent lead sheets for various songs I do, on the off-chance that anyone is interested.  In any case, I'll be able to use them myself, at least.  They will be stored at  Here is the link for the directory:  Chord Sheets, Lead Sheets, Tabs.  I have also been using the old PowerTab to learn to write tabs, and as soon as I get any worth sharing, they will be in the same directory.

Yesterday I wrote a lead sheet for an old gospel song by Hank Williams called "Jesus Died For Me."  It is accessible at this direct link:  Jesus Died For Me.

We did have a good day at the nursing home, although there were some problems with the sound system, but we eventually got it working well.  Mac, the fiddle player, was there this time and I was able to photograph his sheet music for "Ashokan Farewell" and one other piece that I really liked.  I am going to work on a tab for them both, most likely chord/melody arrangements.  I have already worked up such a tab for "Ashokan Farewell" from some other already existing tab, but I want to compare it to his sheet music so I can make sure they are both the same.

I know there are already ukulele tabs for this piece, but I have been able to find them only in C and F.  The original was in D, and both fiddle players I know who play this piece, play it in D.  So I need a tab that's in D.

One other change I recently made was that all the gospel songs on my YouTube channel are now public.  I had previously kept them unlisted because I didn't think there would be much interest in them, but apparently there may be some interest in them, after all.  My YouTube channel is UkeintheHeartofTexas.  The playlist for all the gospel songs is here.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Nursing home gig report 4/29/2017

As usual, a good day at the nursing home today.  We played for 2 1/2 hours.  Unfortunately, Otis couldn't be there this time, but we still had a good crowd.  Merri (vocals, various percussion and fiddle), Carrol (electric guitar), JoDee (vocals, acoustic guitar), me (vocals, tenor uke), Dusty (keyboard), Larry (harmonica), and Bubba (vocals, electric bass).  I did a couple of songs today that we hadn't done before.  They both went over pretty well.

Pick Me Up On Your Way Down (Bubba)
All I Have To Offer You Is Me (me, this one was new)
One More Time (JoDee)
Never On Sunday (instrumental, Carrol)
You are My Sunshine (Merri)
Crazy Arms (Bubba)
A Million and One (me, also new)
How Much is That Doggie in the Window? (JoDee)
Down Yonder (instrumental, Carrol)
This Land is Your Land (Merri)
That's the Way Love Goes (Bubba)
Build Me a Cabin in Gloryland (me)
Teddy Bear Song (JoDee)
Harbor Lights (instrumental, Carrol)
Never Ending Song of Love (Merri)
Silver Wings (Bubba)
Room Full of Roses (me)
Watermelon On the Vine (JoDee)
Double Eagle (instrumental, Carrol)
I'm Sorry (Merri)
Sing Me Back Home (Bubba)
Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow (me)
Long Time to Forget (JoDee)
Sweet Memories (instrumental, Carrol)
I'll Fly Away (Merri)
Fraulein (Bubba)
The Old Country Church (me)
Up the Lazy River (JoDee)
Spanish Eyes (instrumental, Carrol)
I Feel Good (Merri)
Cold, Cold Heart (Bubba)
Goodnight, Irene (me)
Make the World Go Away (Bubba)

Both of the new songs I did went over quite well, especially "All I Have."  I'm pretty sure it used to be in Carrol's repertoire back in the olden days when he was in a band.

Something strange happened during Bubba's "That the Way Love Goes."  I don't know if he had turned his bass up a little more or what happened, but it was so loud that I could feel my skull vibrating and by the end of the song I was starting feel a little sick at my stomach.  Very odd.  I had to ask him to turn it down a little.  It wasn't a problem anymore after that.  We were using Bubba's sound system today.  We usually use Otis's, but as I said, he wasn't there today.

"Fraulein" is one of my wife's favorite songs, and Bubba always sings it for her.  Sometime if he isn't there, I guess I may do it.  As it is now, I like singing backing harmony during the chorus parts.

A good time was had by all!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nursing home set list 4/15/2017

Good day today at the nursing home, with five of us there.  Bubba (bass, vocals), me (ukulele, vocals), JoDee (acoustic guitar, vocals), Carrol (electric guitar), and Otis (acoustic guitar, vocals).  We played for a little over two hours.

Pick Me Up On Your Way Down (Bubba)
Angel Band (me)
Can I Have This Dance (JoDee)
Always On Sunday (Carrol, instrumental)
This World is Not My Home (Otis)
Walk Through This World With Me (Bubba)
I Saw the Light (me)
Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed? (JoDee)
Down Yonder (Carrol, instrumental)
Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet (Otis)
Sing Me Back Home (Bubba)
I'll Fly Away (me)
Grandma's Feather Bed (JoDee)
Half As Much (Carrol, instrumental)
Waltz of the Angels (Otis)
Your Cheatin' Heart (Bubba)
Stand By Me (me)
I Love To Think About You (JoDee)
I Love You Because (Carrol, instrumental)
Farther Along (Otis)
I'll Be There Before the Next Teardrop Falls (Bubba)
Act Naturally (me)
What's the Matter With the Mill? (JoDee)
Harbor Lights (Carrol, instrumental)
I'll See You in the Morning (Otis)
Silver Wings (Bubba)
Goodnight Irene (me)
Tennessee Waltz (JoDee)
Spanish Eyes (Carrol, instrumental)
The Old Rugged Cross (Otis)
Make the World Go Away (Bubba)

I did a few that I hadn't done in a long time, and as usual, "Goodnight Irene" was a big hit with everyone there.  We had lots of fun!