Monthly Archives: February 2012

W00T! Open mic and play-along a hoot!

Bozeman’s first-ever (as far as we know) Valentine ukulele open mic and play-along was GO! Twenty or so players and a warm audience showed up at the Flying C Cafe for two 30-minute sets of open mic performances and a couple sets of play-along songs, all with the theme of love.

After dreaming this thing up and promoting it, I was delighted/relieved to see people actually come to it and participate! But if you were there, you could tell that I (Marla Goodman, mild mannered graphic designer and copywriter) am not really the on-stage type. I only organized it because I wanted it to happen, not because I wanted to lead it! In fact, I would have been too terrified to promote it at all if Ryan Cassavaugh hadn’t agreed to emcee. When he said yes, I knew no matter how lame I was, his coolness would cancel out my doofusness.

I was also terrified because I didn’t know how to set up the sound. I asked around hoping to find someone to help, but I couldn’t quite seem to wrangle an affirmative, “Stop worrying, I’ll take care of it” that I hoped for.

The afternoon of the open mic, Ryan and I were wrestling with the PA (okay, he was wrestling, I was watching) trying to get any sound out of it at all, and in walks this guy, Peter, with a suitcase full of microphones and cords, monitors and God knows what else. He managed to get us up and flying, and in spite of a rather bumpy start, the open mic acts sounded great! I now regard Peter and Ryan as my personal saviors, and will gladly throw myself in front of a UPS truck to save either of their asses at the soonest opportunity.

The open mic acts really were good, and it was a dream come true for me to hear them. People seemed gung-ho about the play-along songs too, so it was a regular love fest.

I’m now in the process of setting up a Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret Google Group mailing list and encouraging LIKES for the Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret Facebook page, to solicit input from people who attended (or didn’t) and involvement from those who might like to help with future play-alongs and open mics.

Huge thanks to all of the people who helped out and to the Flying C Cafe for making the Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret real!


Happy Together for Ukulele

Here is the cheat sheet for Happy Together! One of my Uke Newb guinea pigs suggested that I give some hint about how the rhythm goes before starting the song, so here’s my new, improved notation method with an intro page that tells what chords are going to be in the song, and lets you practice the rhythm a bit before you start in. It will either be helpful, or confusing as Hell!

Ukulele Cabaret Theme Song!

Ukulele Cabaret Theme chords  I recorded a rough track (oh, who am I kidding, this is probably as good as it is gonna get) of “The Angel of the Ukulele Cabaret” in hopes that friends will become familiar with it and leap up to play kazoo on the horn section solo when I (attempt to) play it.

Also, if I chicken out on playing it live, at least it’s preserved for posterity in this shockingly crappily produced video! I predict it will stop somewhere short of viral, but hey, if I can save one innocent small town girl from the clutches of ukulele playing, it will all have been worthwhile!

If you want to learn the song, here are the lyrics and chords in a PDF: Ukulele Cabaret song

“Keep On Lovin You” for Uke

I tried out my chord charts on some ukulele beginners last weekend, and they had some suggestions about making the songs easier to read.

So on this one I tried color coding the chord changes with highlighting, as well as noting the chord right in front of the change. They wanted me to make each chord a different color, but I don’t think that’s practical. The colors are only to call attention to a chord change and help you see the chart, not to signify a particular chord.

I don’t know if this version of “Keep On Lovin You” is easier to read, or if putting the chords in with the text makes it too complicated. But I do know that if you strike that F power chord in “Keep on Lovin You,” you will feel pretty badass.


Ring of Fire for Ukulele

This arrangement doesn’t strictly follow the order of the Johnny Cash recording, but you can switch it up to your taste. I prefer to play it slowly and plaintively, from a prone position, as if I have been literally damned by love, but to each his own.

Wild Thing made easier for ukulele

Here’s a version of “Wild Thing” transposed to make it easier to play than the usual A version. If you have trouble changing quickly from F to G, try playing an F-add-9 instead of F. (i.e. drop the finger from the second fret of the G string, and just keep the finger that’s on the first fret of the E string.) Nobody will notice much!

Love Shack for uke

I’m not sure if this will work as a play-along song, but if you can play C and Bb, it’s guaranteed t make you feel pretty cool. The only kinda ugly chord is that pesky Ab. I don’t know any easier way to play it. It’s just a G moved up a fret, but you have to either bar the first fret or finger the G string on the first fret.

“I Will” Chords for Ukulele practice

Okay ukulele play-alongers, here are the chords for “I Will.” Don’t worry too much about those G7 transition chords. If they bum you out, just skip them. Let me know if you see any horrible mistakes. Remember, the colored boxes just indicate the word that the chord change goes with. There is no secret agenda. The # symbol indicates that a chord change happens, but there’s no word.