About the Album

September 6, 2005 · Print This Article

The main theme of this album was the contrast between New York and Hawaii. They are such starkly different places, both in terms of climate and attitude, yet they are both a part of who I am. The photo on the cover of the album is a the view from my parents’ home in Manoa, the place I grew up. I held the guitar out, capturing the reflection of the clouds in the guitar. Diamond Head is in the distance. The back cover of the album is the same guitar reflection concept, captured from my apartment window in New York City. The idea of the guitar reflection photos is that I captured all of my experiences, from Hawaii to New York in my guitar. So, hopefully my guitar tells my story, from Hawaii, to California, to New York, spanning time, seasons and experiences.

1. Warmer Days
Winters have been one of the more difficult aspects of being in New York. I tend to miss home more in the winter. I wrote this song as an optimistic piece, thinking of the “warmer days” in Hawaii. Several of the songs on the album were inspired by this climate theme. It’s a clear, strong, developed emotion to be in a cold place, both in climate and social culture, and at the same time think of home.

2. Lisa’s Lullaby
This song was inspired by my wife, Lisa. It has a bossa nova rhythm part with a sweet melody on top. It’s not quite a lullaby, but I liked the title so much I kept it.

3. Meditation
I wrote this piece almost as a static ki ho`alu composition (slack key). I envisioned a meditative state, perhaps sitting on a mountain, alone. It’s introspective, and I find myself being introspective when listening to this piece.

4. New Seasons
Another weather piece. There is so much contrast between Hawaii and New York. This song moves from winter to spring, the harmonics (sounding like high pitched bells) remind me of new buds, new life. It’s a hopeful song; new seasons are hopeful.

5. February Snow
This is one of the most vivid pictures of any songs I’ve written. I was sitting in my apartment on Mercer Street. The snow was falling lightly outside my window. It was silent, a winter silence. In some ways it was majestic; in other was it was melancholy.

6. Arrival
I wrote this song during a gig in California. I was the dinner music during a dinner theatre in Claremont, California. At the time I didn’t have enough pieces in my memory, so I started “noodling” with the instrument. This piece jumped out. It took my a couple years to actually accept it as a piece of music, since I always thought of it as messing around on the guitar. It has a little bit of slack key influence, but doesn’t really sound like it’s straight out of Hawaii. My music tends to be that way, and I’m very happy about it. You can hear elements of Hawaii in my music, but it’s not typically Hawaiian. Since that’s what I am, part Hawaii, part California, part New York, I like that my music actually sounds like a combination of my background.

7. Sunshine
Sunshine was a short ditty that I wrote in my apartment on 10th Avenue. I wanted something bouncy, to contrast with the rest of the album. I wanted my playing to sound a little “dirty,” as opposed to clean, but I just I’m not really capable of that. It still came out sounding sort of sugary, so I called it Sunshine.

8. Come Home
I wrote this piece while Lisa was on a trip. I was sitting in my apartment, a little bored, a little lonely. So, I wrote this song as a way of saying “come home.” Well, she came home, but the song didn’t make it happen any faster.

9. Ka`a Slack
I wrote this piece in high school. That was an extremely developmental period of time for my music. I studied with Lisa Smith, Barry Flanagan and Bobby Moderow. During that period, I picked up the guitar every night, played constantly, and asked everyone I knew to teach me. I had been playing seriously for about a year when I wrote the song. I tried to make it sound like driving and running into a traffic jam. The middle section represents horns honking. When I recorded the song for the album ten years later, I thought it needed a little flavor in the beginning, so I added the intro.

10. The Leaves Have Fallen
This is a song about the transition from Fall to Winter. It’s another melancholy song. The change from fall to winter is a little depressing. The warmth dissipates; the trees go barren. It completes the seasons on the album. I wrote the pieces on the cd over a span of two years, with the exception of Arrival and Ka`a Slack. So, I hit a lot of seasons during the course of writing.

11. Soon
This is the second solo slack key piece. I heard a song by Keola Beamer in a strange F tuning. I thought the tuning was so interesting that I just had to write something for myself. Since the tuning is obscure, I haven’t played the song since recording it. I’m not even sure if I can still play it.

12. Stillness
This is the first song winding down the album. Everything is slowing down, coming almost to a complete halt, but not totally.

13. Goodnight
This is truly the end of the album, the end of the day, the end of a season, the end of an era. I vividly remember calm nights in Hawaii, stars out. I’ve written several of songs with words drawing on those calm Hawaiian evenings. It’s such a magical place, especially at night, and especially in contrast to a place like New York. The harmonics in the song represent stars; the song drifts into dreams.


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