★ Our Next IN-PERSON Meeting: Thursday, August 11! ★

Neil YoungGreetings, friends! Our next monthly meeting is fast approaching, on Thursday, August 11, 7:00–9:00pm. We hope August has started off well for you and that you’re looking forward to this month’s in-person meeting as much as we are! We’ll meet, as usual, at the Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 6100 Berkman Drive, Austin, TX, 78723.

Cathy

Please note the COVID-19 precautions in place for our meeting, at the bottom of this post.


We’re looking forward to our August new-to-us song: Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” This song was released 50 years ago and was Young’s only #1 hit in the U.S. It’s a beautiful folk/rock ballad that has stood the test of time, as it’s been covered by other artists for nearly fifty years, including Willie Nelson, Bettye LaVette and Passenger, to name just a few. If you’re not already familiar with it, we’re sure you’ll enjoy getting to know it and learning it with us next week.

Neil Young’s 1971 recording is in the key of Em/G, but Bob changed it to Am/C to make it a bit simpler on the ukulele and because this key uses the same chord shapes that Young is playing on guitar, just transposed to the uke. This makes the song a lovely 4-chord ballad using very common chords: C, G, F, Am and Am7.

Neil Young’s 1971 recording is in the key of Em/G, but Bob changed it to Am/C to make it a bit simpler on the ukulele and because this key uses the same chord shapes that Young is playing on guitar, just transposed to the uke. This makes the song a lovely 4-chord ballad using very common chords: C, G, F, Am and Am7.

To practice, you can preview or download the lyrics and chords for “Heart of Gold.” To provide an example in the key of C, Bob also created a demo video, in which he plays the strum pattern and each of the picking parts. He also sings each vocal part – please give it a listen and feel free to play/sing along. 🙂

“Heart of Gold” demo video:

Here are some details about the song sheet:

  • Pages 1 through 3 have the chords and lyrics.
  • Page 3 also has a description of the main strum pattern, along with a couple of simplified alternatives.
  • Page 4 has tab for a picking part that can be played during the Instrumental Verses. This is intended to evoke one of the harmonica parts that appears in Neil Young’s original recording.
  • Page 4 also has details of the strum pattern we’ll play during the last line of each Chorus (while singing the lyrics “…and I’m getting’ old“).
  • Pages 5 and 6 have vocal harmony options for the Choruses.
  • Pages 7 – 9 have vocal harmony options for the Ending of the song.

As always, we recommend practicing the song using the chart and diagrams, Bob’s sample demo audio clip, and Neil Young’s recording on YouTube before we meet on the 9th, if possible. 🙂

At the meeting, Bob will perform “Heart of Gold” to demonstrate the arrangement, and then take us through some helpful exercises to get us comfortable with the chords and chord progressions, strum styles, vocal and harmonizing options, before we put it all together to play it through.

Jessica

We’ll also include some open mic time for those of you who’d like to showcase one tune you’ve been working on. A sign-up sheet will be available at 6:30. As open mic time is limited to four participants, please sign up when you arrive and understand that preference will be given to those who have not participated recently or ever before.

Ukulele Society T-shirts!
As you know, we create a new t-shirt every year. Celebrating our global AUS community, we are thrilled to unveil our 2022 edition t-shirt, “Ukulele Around the World,” designed by the talented Lyda Guz!

The shirts are silk screened here in Austin at a fantastic locally-owned print shop and are available for purchase via mail order. The new “Ukulele Around the World” design, “10th Anniversary,” Mermaid, Cowboy,” “Austin Lasso” and other shirts are $20. We also have vinyl decals with the AUS logo for $1 each. We can accept cash or a check made out to Austin Ukulele Society; you can also make payment via Venmo or PayPal.

Location
Memorial United Methodist Church, 6100 Berkman Drive, Austin, TX 78723. We meet in the school located behind the church, in the gym.

Memorial United Methodist Church Map
Map it
mumc_overview
Where to park and find the gym

For those attending for the first time, the church is easy to find – but it is big. You’ll enter from Berkman Dr. using a ‘one way’ entrance and you can park anywhere alongside or behind the church. Past the canopied main entrance, on the same side of the building, there is another entrance on the right. Walk in there and you’ll be in the gym. From there simply follow the sounds of ukuleles tuning up. 🙂

Newcomers and beginners are ALWAYS welcome! Even if you’re a complete novice, we encourage you to come out. Many beginners come to the meetings, and it’s so great to see their skills grow over time! There are almost always easier ways to play the songs, even if you can play only a few of the chords. Or just sing along!

Our friends from the TUG (Tuesday Ukulele Group) now make available loaner ukuleles at the AUS monthly meetings! They are Makala concert and soprano ukes, and you can borrow one to play during the meeting. You’ll find them at the front of the room; so if you don’t have a uke yet, or you forget your uke at home, or your uke is in disrepair, please join us and borrow a TUG loaner uke. 🙂

Feel free to get familiar with the chord charts for any of the songs in our repertoire, all available on the “Music Library” page. We always play “Three Little Birds” and “On the Road Again” as our opening and closing songs, so if you’re new to the group and want to get familiar with them, you can play along using the presentations and our videos.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on Thursday, August 11, at 7:00pm!

Contact Us if you have any questions, need more information, or would like to be added to our mailing list.


COVID-19 Precautions for Our Meeting

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, we need your help in mitigating the risk of spreading the virus in the following ways:

  • Attend only if you’re feeling well.
  • If you have recently had close contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 and you yourself have tested negative, please wear a mask.
  • While Travis County remains in the medium risk of transmission category, wearing a mask at the MUMC is optional for those at low risk.
  • We request that anyone at risk or anyone unvaccinated/not boosted wear a mask.
  • You are always encouraged to wear a mask if you feel more comfortable doing so.
  • If you would like additional information about COVID-19, please visit the CDC’s website.

The Austin Ukulele Society team will do our part to mitigate risk by:

  • Making disposable masks and hand sanitizer available
  • Spreading seating out as needed
  • Opening a couple of doors to improve air flow, if the temperatures allow