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Austin’s filled with uke music

A message from Jen:

There are some great opportunities to hear and see some of Austin’s wonderfully talented ukulele music acts, coming up very soon – all across the Austin area, and into San Marcos and Round Rock as well!  Check them out!

Who: The Pine Beetles
(featuring Bob Guz!)

Date: Wednesday 3/27
Cost: no cover
Patsy’s Cowgirl Cafe (5001 E. Ben White; Austin, TX)
Time: happy hour – 6:30 to 9:00pm

Who: Pops Bayless and the Dark City Trio

Date: Thursday 3/28
no cover

Location:  The Whip In (1950 IH35 South, Austin, TX 78704)
9:30pm – midnight

Who: The Paper Moonshiners (featuring Frank Meyer!)

Friday 3/29

no cover
Location: The Whip In (1950 IH35 South, Austin, TX 78704)

Time 10pm – midnight

Date: Saturday 3/30
Cost: no cover
San Marcos Farmers Market (downtown on the square)
10:00am – 1:00pm

Who: Bailey and the Flea Circus

Date: Friday 3/29

no cover
LocationSpider House Cafe  (2908 Fruth St, Austin, TX 78705)

Time: 10:30pm – 11:15am

Who: The Love Leighs (in addition to their Tuesday residence at the Firehouse Lounge – 605 Brazos St, 10pm, no cover)
Date: Friday 3/29
no cover
Location Botticelli’s  (1321 S. Congress, Austin, TX 78704)


Who: Ukuladies and the Tramps
Date: Saturday 3/30
Cost: Free with ticket to the Dwight Yoakam show OR $5 at the door
Location: Stubbs Indoor Stage (801 Red River St  Austin, TX 78701)

Time: 11:00pm – 11:45pm

Who: Kathy Murray & Bill Monster Jones

Date: Saturday 4/6
ost: no cover
LocationWine Sensations (Round Rock Crossing; 3021 South IH-35; Round Rock, TX  78664)
7:00pm – 9:00pm

For more info about The Paper Moonshiners and their upcoming gigs, visit:

For more info about Kathy Murray & Bill Monster Jones, visit:

Uke performances in Austin as of 3/11/13

Here are some upcoming Austin uke performances that you might like to know about, from Jen:

Who: The Pine Beetles, featuring our very own Bob Guz:
Date: Wednesday 3/13
Cost: no cover
Patsy’s Cowgirl Cafe (5001 E. Ben White; Austin, TX)
Time: happy hour – 6:30 to 9:00pm

Date: Sunday, 3/17 (St. Patty’s Day!)
Cost: no cover
Things Celtic (1806 W. 35th St.; Austin, TX)
Time: noon to 1pm

Who: The Paper Moonshiners (featuring AUS member Frank Meyer!)

Date: Wednesday 3/13
Cost: no cover

Location:  The Whip In (1950 IH35 South, Austin, TX 78704)


Date: Thursday 3/14
Cost: no cover

Location:  Central Market Westgate (4477 S. Lamar Blvd; Austin, TX 78745)

6:30pm – 9:00pm

Date: Saturday 3/15
Cost: no cover

Location:  Flipnotics (1601 Barton Springs Rd  Austin, TX 78704)

5:45pm – 6:30pm

For more info about The Paper Moonshiners and their upcoming gigs, visit:

For more info about The Pine Beetles and their upcoming gigs, visit

Ukulele photo project by photographer & Austin Ukulele Society member


Here’s an invitation sent by one of our members in pursuit of a creative project…

Fellow Uke Players,


 I would love the opportunity to photograph you with your ukulele!  


I’m a locally based photographer looking to do a cool project about people and their instruments – pictures that reflect the relationship each person has with their favorite ukulele.  I love that special feeling I get when I think about my ukulele – the Bluke, and I am looking for people who feel similar about their instrument.
I will be taking photos before the next Austin Ukulele Society meeting, on Thursday, November 8th.  Since I would like about 5 minutes or so with each subject, I’d like to make appointments: 6:35, 6:40, 6:45, and 6:50.  I will be scheduling appointments at future AUS meetings and at my studio in downtown Austin, so if I can’t fit you in on November 8, don’t panic, we’ll get you soon!
The picture is about the relationship between you and your instrument, so come dressed in a way that exemplifies that relationship – dressed up, casual, in costume, etc.
If you are interested, please contact me directly at
And also feel free to verify that I am a legit photographer by checking out some of my work at!


Remember, “Ukes for the Cure” Tuesday evening at Threadgill’s North!

Folks– Join us! Here’s the set schedule, for our “Ukes for the Cure” benefit on Tuesday, October 23rd, at Threadgill’s North (6416 N. Lamar):
7:00 – Austin Ukulele Society
7:15 – Ray Carr
7:25 – Tim Keough
7:35 – The Pine Beetles
8:00 – The Lunettes
8:20 – Paper Moon Shiners
8:45 – Kathy Murray & Bill ‘Monster’ Jones
9:10 – Austin Ukulele Society – Finale
And, just in case you haven’t been to Threadgill’s, it’s a wonderful place to get some dinner, appetizers and/or drinks, so feel to show up early.
Bob and I would ask that any of you in the ensemble get there by 6:30, if possible.
Threadgill’s takes reservations for six or more folks, so if you happen to know you will have a group of that size with you, feel free to make a reservation (ask for the room with live music).
If you have any questions, drop a line to austinukes[at] Also… remember that you can bring $20 along and collect yourself a Dia de los M-uke-ertos T-shirt at the event!
Looking forward to playing with and/or hearing all of you on Tuesday! –Jen

Hmm… a Kickstarter plastic ukulele project?

Here’s something new and unusual–a fellow in Oregon, Scott Seelye, who is trying to gather $125,000 in funds on Kickstarter to finance manufacture of a serious plastic soprano ukulele. His prototype, in black, is a nice-looking but odd design with a truly unusual set of tuners (and check out the unusual neck, too). And plastic ukes were popular with adults back in the 1950s. I don’t know how much hope to hold out for him, though. With $125K as his goal, as I write he has collected only about $5,000, with 27 days to go.

I am considering pledging the $125 necessary to receive one of his first black plastic ukes. If you like the idea of a (hopefully) inexpensive uke you can take on a rafting trip, spread the word, & perhaps we’ll see this one happen. —Walter

PS: This project failed, coming in $100K short. I think it’s a shame.

Ever heard of George Formby? You’ll want to watch this

One of the most famous ukulele players on earth was George Formby. Never heard of him? Most Americans never have, but he was a huge celebrity in Britain in the years between 1934 and 1960, and he was a major morale-booster for the UK during the Second World War. His trademark was the banjo ukulele, which he played in 20 films of that time.

If you’re curious to see who he was, and why there are plenty of folks in Britain who still celebrate his comedy and music today, you should watch this BBC documentary about him, hosted by British comic and Formby fan Frank Skinner:

Warning–this is an hour-long program, but well worth your time, unless you’re not a George Formby fan; for many 21st-century folks, he’s the equivalent of Tiny Tim in the USA. But there’s lots of ukulele stuff within. —Walter

Langley Ukulele Ensemble performing in NYC

If you’ve ever heard of The Langley Ukulele Ensemble from British Columbia, you may know that they’re the product of a pretty amazing musical education program (they were featured in the film The Mighty Uke, if you’ve heard of it). They were in New York City this past weekend for the NY Uke Fest, and here’s a YouTube video of the group playing the old Warner Brothers cartoon soundtrack piece “Power Station,” by the famous cartoon composer Carl Stalling. Wow…

Pretty amazing, no? Especially the choreography. —from Walter

A visit to the 2012 Lone Star Uke Fest

Debbie PorterThe 2012 version of the Lone Star Uke Fest happened on June 1 and 2 in Dallas at the Bath House Cultural Center, an arts facility owned by the city. If you went to either of the earlier Lone Star fests, this one, organized by “Ukulady” Noel Tardy, was a good deal smaller. Instead of the big roster of teachers and performers at the previous fests, this year there were three–east Texas singer Debbie Porter, the “Play Ukulele by Ear” impresario Jim D’Ville, and Austin’s own Pops Bayless.

Friday evening was basically a big open mike, along with a singer / songwriter competition. On Saturday 6/2, there were basically two morning sessions, one for beginners and thePops Bayless other for “intermediate / advanced” players. Debbie and Pops switched off for these. Each one of their classes was intended for one level or another, but everyone took part in every class. Debbie shared lots of performance tips for “open mike” singers on all levels–most notably how to phrase a song, and importantly, how to determine which key is correct for you, as many folks sing too high or too low. Pops had everyone playing the blues in a matter of minutes, and then shared the best way to play the blues on a uke.

Jim D'VilleJim D’Ville did his “Play Ukulele by Ear” class and jam throughout the afternoon. His message, delivered very much in the style of a musical stand-up comic, was for every player at every level to “throw away the book”–in other words, lose the notebook many ukers carry to meetings or performances with all their favorite song sheets inside. Instead, Jim showed us all the 1 – 4 – 5 musical form of an average rock / folk / pop song (not all songs follow it, but most do) and how to figure it out without having to look at sheet music.

The three teachers, along with Texas novelty band the Wahooligans, performed Saturday evening. It was all lots of fun, worth the three-hour drive in each direction, and highly recommended if they hold another one next year. –from Walter