March 8, 2018: Count On Me!

On a lovely springtime evening in central Austin, an enthusiastic group of ukulele players of all ages and abilities met up to strum and sing together. Having learned some classics in recent months, it seemed fitting to focus attention on a hit from the past decade by a very popular and current musician. And so Bob put together a great arrangement of “Count on Me” by Hawaiian native, Grammy award winning singer-songwriter (and sometimes ukulele player), Bruno Mars.

To kick off the meeting, after introductions, Bob and AUS members alike shared some local ukulele news, including opportunities to meet up to play as well as support local ukulele music. (Remember, you can always find out what’s happening in Austin’s ukulele scene by checking out the AUS Events Page). After warming up fingers and voices by playing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” Bob led the group through exercises to practice the chord progressions, strum pattern, and vocal harmonies that worked best for our group of nearly 150 players. Afterward, we put “Count On Me” all together and played it through a few times. It sounded just lovely:

To play along with us, you can download the lyrics and chords for our arrangement of “Count On Me” or download a copy of the presentation and instruction guide (what we project on the screen for all to follow along, including exercises and drills).


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We all enjoyed the open mic portion of the evening, in which we were treated to the talents of some great musicians. John Lee Boyer, visiting from Iowa, played ukulele and harmonica on a great tune for us. He was followed by The John Davenport on a witty original. Vincent played a lovely instrumental, and Sho H did a terrific original he’s been working on, while Walter wrapped up the open mic with an entertaining, original song entitled “Red Fez” (accompanied by his kazoo and, of course, his very own red fez).

(Above, clock-wise: Walter, John Lee, Sho H, The John Davenport, Vince.)

We look forward to strumming and singing with you all at our next monthly meeting on Thursday, April 12th! 🙂

For more downloadable music, visit our Ukulele Music Library. For more Austin Ukulele Society videos, check out our YouTube Channel.

Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to be added to our mailing list!

February 8, 2018: Hank Williams Heartache Medley

At the February meeting of the Austin Ukulele Society, over 140 ukulele players got together to lament love, strum, and harmonize on a couple of classic Hank Williams heartache tunes: “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “Cold, Cold Heart”. It is, after all, our tradition to learn a Valentine’s Day song of love in February, and so we changed that up a bit since love sometimes hurts.

The meeting kicked off with introductions and local ukulele news, including opportunities to play together and support local ukulele music shows – as well as the Ukulele Open Mic Night at the Rattle Inn coming up on Saturday, February 24. After our warm up song, Bob led the group through some helpful chord progression exercises as well as picking and vocal harmonizing options on the Hank Williams medley he put together for us. The group practiced the songs’ parts, and when we put all together, it sounded great!

To play along with us, you can download the lyrics and chords for our medley of “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “Cold, Cold Heart” or download a copy of the presentation and instruction guide (what we project on the screen for all to follow along, including exercises and drills).


 
During the open mic portion of the evening, the group was honored to hear incredibly talented and diverse ukulele musicians share their craft with us. From 11-year-old Mason’s excellent cover of “Our Town,” to Rodger’s beautiful rendition of the Korean traditional song “Arirang,” to Jay’s timely cover of Steve Earle’s “Valentine’s Day” and Sho’s “12 Bar Blues” (a sampling of famous bluesy songs by many artists, including The John Davenport’s “Don’t Dallas My Austin”), closing out with Cindi’s romantic original “Can’t Wait to Get Back Home.”

 
We’re looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday, February 24th, for Open Mic Night at the Rattle Inn, then back at the Memorial United Methodist Church for our next monthly meeting on Thursday, March 8!

For more downloadable music, visit our Ukulele Music Library. For more Austin Ukulele Society videos, check out our YouTube Channel.

Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to be added to our mailing list!

January 11, 2018: California Dreamin’!

On a windy and chilly January evening, the Austin Ukulele Society kicked off our eighth year (!) with what appeared to be our biggest turnout to date: 165-170 players! The day had started off balmy and beautiful, as one might imagine a southern California winter’s day to be like. But by the time the group gathered that evening, the temperatures in Central Texas had dropped significantly and it felt very appropriate to learn The Mamas & the Papas vocal folk classic, “California Dreamin’.”

We played our warm up tune (Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”) to start our meeting, as we’ve done for the past seven years. After sharing some local ukulele news and reminders, Bob launched into chord progression practices, with picking and strumming options, to help everyone get comfortable with playing “California Dreamin’.” He also walked us through some vocal exercises, since this song features such great harmonies. We were fortunate to have Ann Mosher accompany us with a flute solo as in the original recording by The Mamas and The Papas. By the time we put it together and played it through a few times, everyone was sounding strong and confident:

To play along with us, you can download the lyrics and chords for “California Dreamin’” or download a copy of the presentation and instruction guide (what we project on the screen for all to follow along, including exercises and drills).



 
We took a break to enjoy excellent talent by the evening’s open mic participants: Cindi, Full Mental Jack-Kit, The John Davenport, Tate and Helen. It was great to hear such a wonderful array of ukulele performances that included terrific originals and covers alike.

 
The very next night, we were thrilled to welcome Lil Rev, a preeminent ukulele instructor and performer who hails from Milwaukee, back to Austin for the first time in five years. Rev presented a fantastic workshop inspired by his love for Lead Belly, teaching the group ways to add blues and boogie elements to their strumming, as well how to play several of Leadbelly’s most influential songs. Shortly after the workshop, Rev enchanted the full house of over 60 attendees with his exceptional storytelling and an excellent concert performed on both ukulele and harmonica. The group was thrilled to see their own Bob Guz perform a couple of tunes with Rev. After an excellent encore, we regaled Rev with a standing ovation; everyone looks forward to having Rev back in Austin in the not too distant future.

 
Everyone should look forward to the next meeting, on Thursday, February 8th, as the group takes on some Valentine’s-suitable material. 🙂 See you then!

For more downloadable music, visit our Ukulele Music Library. For more Austin Ukulele Society videos, check out our YouTube Channel.

Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to be added to our mailing list!

December 14, 2017: Holiday Potluck and Strum-A-Long!

The Austin Ukulele Society was very pleased to host the seventh annual Holiday Potluck and Strum-A-Long! While the regular structure of learning a new song at our other monthly meetings is, of course, a lot fun, we are also grateful to have a chance to break bread and clink glasses in a more social setting for our December get together. Attendees enjoyed lots of food, desserts, drinks and conversation at the High Road on Dawson, as well as a great view of downtown Austin from the deck. We all felt the holiday spirit, with the chance to strum all of the Christmas-time songs we’ve learned to play over the years.

If you didn’t get a chance to join us and would like to strum those holiday tunes as well, you can download the Austin Ukulele Society’s 2017 Holiday Songbook, which contains the chords and lyrics for all of the songs below in one handy PDF booklet!

Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley cover) Chord Sheet Presentation
Holly Jolly Christmas / Marshmallow World Chord Sheet Presentation Video
Let It Snow / Winter Wonderland   ★★  NEW!  ★★ Chord Sheet Presentation Video
Mele Kalikimaka / Jingle Bells Chord Sheet Presentation Video
Rockin’ Christmas Medley Chord Sheet Presentation Video
Santa Claus is Coming to Town Chord Sheet Presentation Video

We were treated to a lovely variety of talented performers during the open mic portion of the evening, with Christmas songs, other covers and originals to boot. We are grateful that Walter indulged us by reprising “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” (does anyone actually do this better than Walter?). We offer a hearty thanks to Walter, Helen, Richard H, Big Al from Ottawa, Nancy and Mandi – as we are so lucky to have you share your talent with us.

We wish everyone a very healthy, happy and safe holiday season, and look forward to seeing you back in the Memorial United Methodist Church’s (MUMC) gym on Thursday, January 11th for our next regular meeting!

We also hope to see you on Friday, January 12th, in the MUMC’s Parlor for Lil Rev’s Workshop and Concert. More info will be available soon about this exciting opportunity! 🙂

For more downloadable music, visit our Ukulele Music Library. For more Austin Ukulele Society videos, check out our YouTube Channel.

Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to be added to our mailing list!

Holiday Party: Thursday, December 14!

Whether you find all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season a bit stressful or it’s your favorite time of the year, our 7th annual Austin Ukulele Society Holiday Strum-a-long and Potluck is something you don’t want to miss! Each year, in lieu of our regular monthly meeting at Memorial United Methodist Church, we have a social event with food, drink and, of course, plenty of ukulele strumming and singing.

When
Thursday, December 14, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30pm, giving us a nice amount of time to mingle, nosh, and play music.

Where
The High Road on Dawson, located at 700 Dawson Rd, Austin, TX, 78704. We’ll be in the second floor event space. Free and plentiful off-street parking! There’s plenty of space so bring along friends and family! Children are welcome!

What
Strum-a-long and Potluck! Feel free to bring a dish to share. Any type of food, snack or dessert is welcome; just remember to take home with you any dishes you bring. Plates and utensils will be provided. There will be a full, cash bar with beer, wine, liquor, soft drinks and water available. Please note that no outside beverages of any kind may be brought in.

Music
We’ll mingle, eat, drink and play the holiday songs we’ve learned over the years. We’ll project the chord charts from our repertoire of Christmas songs from years past; feel free to get familiar with them. Download our 2017 Holiday Songbook, which contains the chords and lyrics for all of the songs below in one handy PDF booklet!

Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley cover) Chord Sheet Presentation
Holly Jolly Christmas / Marshmallow World Chord Sheet Presentation Video
Let It Snow / Winter Wonderland   ★★  NEW!  ★★ Chord Sheet Presentation Video
Mele Kalikimaka / Jingle Bells Chord Sheet Presentation Video
Rockin’ Christmas Medley Chord Sheet Presentation Video
Santa Claus is Coming to Town Chord Sheet Presentation Video

We’ll also have an open mic portion of the party. Feel free to prepare a song, holiday-themed or not. Perform it yourself and/or lead the group in playing/singing along with you! As usual, we’ll have a sign up sheet available.

And in case you want to get in some holiday shopping, we’ll have plenty of Austin Ukulele Society t-shirts on hand for purchase – including our beautiful brand new 2017 “Ukulele Mermaid” design, crafted by the talented Lyda Guz and printed right here in Austin!

Our newest shirt will cost $20; all previous years’ shirts are $15. We accept cash or a check made out to Bob Guz or Jen Richardson.

One final note about the High Road on Dawson: It was built in the 1950s and unfortunately is not ADA compliant, and our event is on the second floor. Any person with accessibility concerns can be carried in or assisted by friends/family, if possible. There are restrooms on the same floor as our event.

If you have any questions at all about the party, please drop us a line and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Please spread the word among your ukulele peers and remind them that we will NOT have a regular meeting at Memorial United Methodist Church (MUMC) in December. Our next meeting at MUMC will be on Thursday, January 11, 2018.

Remember, our next meeting will NOT be at the church. Instead, we will be celebrating our 7th Annual “Holiday Potluck and Strum-a-Long,” on Thursday, December 14, at the High Road on Dawson, located at 700 Dawson Road, 78704. See you there! 🙂

November 9, 2017: Wagon Wheel!

Wagon WheelOn a chilly and gray November evening, the Austin Ukulele Society created warmth and cheer for all. The meeting kicked off with introductions, info about upcoming local ukulele events and our warm up song, “Three Little Birds.” Next, Bob introduced our holiday medley of “Let It Snow” and “Winter Wonderland” and walked the group through helpful chord progression exercises, which made it easier to play. After rehearsing the medley a few times, we took a break and practiced one of our favorite songs and most popular videos on YouTube, “Wagon Wheel.” We hope you enjoy our recent take on it, a little more than four years since we first recorded it. Afterward, we spent more time with our holiday medley and recorded it to share in December. We are grateful to those of you who displayed your holiday spirit with Santa hats, Christmas sweaters and jewelry, and more, to make our meeting and video even more festive!

To play along with us, you can download the lyrics and chords for “Wagon Wheel” or download a copy of the presentation and instruction guide (what we project on the screen for all to follow along, including exercises and drills).

    
    

During the Open Mic Night portion of the evening, we were delighted by Sarah, Helen, John and Sho’s varied selections and originals and are always so appreciative of those who share what they’ve been working on with us.

            

Mark your calendars! We look forward to more holiday cheer at our upcoming 8th annual holiday potluck and strum-a-long at the High Road on Dawson on Thursday, December 14th! 🙂

And speaking of the holidays, in case you want to get some shopping done early, we have plenty of Austin Ukulele Society t-shirts available for purchase – including our beautiful brand new 2017 “Ukulele Mermaid” design, crafted by the talented Lyda Guz and printed right here in Austin!

Our newest shirt is $20; all previous years’ shirts are $15. We accept cash or a check made out to Bob Guz or Jen Richardson. Drop us a note via our Contact Us page if you would like to make an online purchase.

For more downloadable music, visit our Ukulele Music Library. For more Austin Ukulele Society videos, check out our YouTube Channel.

Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to be added to our mailing list!

October 12, 2017: Psycho Killer!

Psycho KillerFor the fourth consecutive October meeting, members of the Austin Ukulele Society got together to learn to strum and sing an eerie song that fits well into any Halloween repertoire. Fans and members have been requesting that we do Talking Heads’ 1977 hit “Psycho Killer” for a long time, and we really enjoyed doing so last Thursday. Our meeting began with some local ukulele news and show announcements, as well as a big thank you to Pastor Cynthia of the Memorial United Methodist Church for so generously sharing her church’s space with us. We then warmed up our fingers and voices with Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” We thanked those who wore Halloween-themed shirts and costumes, and we dove right into practicing Psycho Killer’s chord progressions and strum patterns that Bob prepared for us. By the time we put the song together and played it through a few times, we were sounding great. Check out our performance below. We closed out our meeting with “On the Road Again.”

To play along with us, you can download the lyrics and chords for “Psycho Killer” or download a copy of the presentation and instruction guide (what we project on the screen for all to follow along, including exercises and drills).



During the Open Mic Night portion of the evening, we were treated to an awesome and thrilling variety of songs – from blues with Daryl, to punk rock with Helen, to an instrumental by Roger, and jazz by Bob – along with a fantastic camping gross-out song performed by Walter. We were once again amazed by the wonderful talent shared by our members.

    

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next meeting on Thursday, November 9th! 🙂


For more downloadable music, visit our Ukulele Music Library. For more Austin Ukulele Society videos, check out our YouTube Channel.

Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to be added to our mailing list!