Solo Ukulele (Independent)
Tiny Tim excepted, most of us see the ukulele as good for one thing and one thing only, namely musical accompaniment for Hawaiian vacations. Major props, then, to Guido Heistek for giving the world reason to rethink its attitude toward Amanda Palmer’s other favourite instrument.
On Solo Ukulele, the self-described “recovering jazz guitarist” tackles songs from the 1920s to 1960s, which means everything from Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” to Andy Williams’s “Moon River”. The result is an unrelentingly lovely collection of songs, the playing tasteful and accomplished, the vibe beautifully mellow.
At the risk of overstating things, Solo Ukulele is every bit as worthy as the works of Eddie Kamae and Lyle Ritz, meaning that it’s best enjoyed anytime the roar of the modern world gets to be too much. Conversely, feel free to load it into the iPod for that next Hawaiian vacation. Or, better yet, cue it up at home to take some of the sting out of the fact that the closest you’re getting to Maui this year is a can of Dole pineapple chunks and a poor man’s mai tai made with 5 Alive.