Folk Uke - Self Titled
by Keith Boyd 06.28.06
The beauty and joy of folk music is in the way it allows one to express an everyday sentiment. These simple sentiments spring forth from our shared human experience of life. It’s the exposition of these themes that allows songs written 100 plus years ago make sense to our lives today. When we speak of folk music we are of course condensing and combining several distinct styles of music into one. Some call it Old Time, others call it Mountain Music. Whatever the various titles are, when we say “folk music” in America we’re generally talking about acoustic instruments, simple song structures, universal themes and a gentle down-homeness. The pure joy one feels in strumming some simple chords on guitar, banjo or ukulele and harmonizing with a person or two are also contributing factors to the longevity and power of folk music.The women in “Folk Uke” obviously get this message and on their self-titled and self-released new disc, they bring the listener along for a wonderful ride.
I should probably get this out there from the get go, the two principals in Folk Uke are Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie. They are the daughters of Willie Nelson and Arlo Guthrie. Other than the fact that they were most likely raised in a music rich environment and they inherited the genes for musical talent, the connection isn’t that important. The musical style of Folk Uke is a much purer expression of the folk genre than either of there father’s ever approached and their playing, song writing and voices are so great that the connection is simply a bit of interesting knowledge.
The CD opens with the old standard, “Tonight You Belong To Me” and it’s a real charmer. The women have such soft and warm voices that they seem to cradle you in a web of harmony. Throughout the disc Arlo and Willie appear, adding sprinkles of lead guitar and vocals but these contributions never outshine the girl’s performances or the elegant simplicity of the songs. One of the great aspects of this album is the bawdy and earthy humor infused throughout. It’s the “sly-dog” hippie humor and vibe that makes songs like, “Shit Makes The Flowers Grow” and “Knock Me Up” such fun. There are few other acts that make for a good comparison. The Ditty Bops and Janet Klien are mining similar territory. But while those artists convey a bit more shine and polish, Folk Uke sucks you in with their simple, fun-loving underdog charm.
This thoroughly enjoyable CD is a great and surprising summertime delight. Those legendary Dad’s of theirs must be quite proud of what their daughters have done here. It is a strong and confident debut and is highly recommended.
Folk Uke website
Folk Uke live at Willies 4th of July picnic in Fort Worth TX and July 12th at the Woody Guthrie folk fest in OK
Folk Uke - Sh*t Makes The Flowers Grow
by Toby - Lou's Records
First word that comes to mind: Toothache. Okay, let's get past the part that this two-gal uke/guitar extravaganza is Willie Nelson's daughter Amy and Arlo Guthrie's daughter Cathy. Ok, we're past it. Willie and Arlo play on the record, too, if you're interested. You can hear Willie's signature guitar tone all over the place. Nice. These girls write songs that sound real sweet on the surface, then you notice the lyrics: Sh*t Makes The Flowers Grow? Knock Me Up? Motherf*cker Got F*cked Up? Kind of harsh for a couple of Nashville girls, don't ya think? What's rad is they play this stuff at folk festivals and I'm sure it flips those folkies out. Did I mention the gnarly hookiness of this CD? Hooky with a capital "H".