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14 November 2015

When I'm Cleaning Windows

I'm feeling pretty shit having watched the horrific tragedy unfold in Paris over the past day. Don't worry, I won't dwell on this now. Let's see if I can pick myself up a bit with a random blog update!

I did promise you some photos from my trip to the US, but I just haven't had the time or energy to pull anything together. Above is a little teaser, but really I want to share with you the video below. It's a rough-and-ready acoustic version of a tune I've been learning of a Townes Van Zandt song for an up-and-coming collaboration. Here's my interpretation of Better than waiting round to die. What do you think?

I got to see Mr B for the first time, last year at the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain. He didn't do this song, but I wish he had. Ironically, there isn't a banjolele in this arrangement which is an inspired twist to this typecast and much maligned tune. I mention it now as a sort of segue into a discovery I only recently made. I've been meaning to do a post on Cousin Earth for a while. They describe themselves as a Progressive Ukulele Rock band and have quite an eclectic taste in music. I'll talk a bit more about them in this post, but for now I think you need to check out their version of Cleaning Windows on Soundcloud. It's a fairly traditional version that ticks all the boxes for me...

 The cover of Cleaning Windows was apparently Joey Calfa's idea. As much as I've wanted to, I've not had the chance to hook up with Joey yet, so we'll have to settle on the tidbits I've picked up from his biog on the Cousin Earth website. Joey is the uke player in full flight in the picture above. BTW, Tara Lawton is the lady on the ventilator: Get well soon Tara ;-)

Joey's background seems as far-reaching and as varied as the band's repertoire. Originally a guitarist, he's played in a Frank Zappa tribute band and more recently a traditional Hawaiian and Tahitian band! I like his style!

See the video below where Joey showboats a la James Hill with a song he calls "Drifting". Lovely!

I'm only going to share one more Cousin Earth song with you... the amazing Universoul. I love the RHCP feel to this number. If I had to pick a favourite then this is it! Ha ha.

And because I can, I'll share the "percussive and tapping" ukulele version of this same tune. Wow!

Hold on a second... I knew there was a reason for getting this post out there! Cousin Earth are releasing an EP in about a week... Just in time for Christmas! Here's what they have to say about it with some tour dates if you happen to be in the NYC area and want to catch them live...

For immediate release:
Brooklyn, New York, October 14th 2015 - Cousin Earth, A New York City based rock band, has announced today that they will be releasing a seven-song EP on November 20th 2015. The self-titled debut will embody the intricate musicality, odd-ball instrumentation (ukulele, ukulele bass, melodica, drums and percussion toys) and tight vocal harmonies that have become a staple of their live act. While the band is known for making big sounds with tiny instruments, their EP will also showcase several songs reminiscent of Mercury Landing, the Progressive Jam band that brought these musicians together (featuring guitars, horns, etc.) The genre-bending album will take listeners through the many sides of Cousin Earth presenting originals with a multitude of styles including Bluegrass, Hip Hop, Rock, Fusion, Ragtime, and Funk.
Cousin Earth’s EP will be available on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Spotify, CD Baby, and Bandcamp. The band will be hosting an official album release party on November 20th at the Bowery Electric in NYC with Sci-Fi Folk band, Future Folk, and Indie-Acoustic Soul group, Benyaro.

About Cousin Earth:
Formerly known as Ukulelien, Cousin Earth was formed in 2013 by Joey Calfa (Ukulele/Guitar/Vocals) and Nate Searing (Drums). The two met while playing in a Frank Zappa cover band in college called the Mothers of Intention. Before founding Ukulelien (Cousin Earth), Calfa and Searing went on to play together again in Mercury Landing. It was in this band that they met the rest of Cousin Earth: Tara Lawton (Vocals, Melodica, Keys, Percussion), Corey J. Feldman (Ukulele Bass, Bass, Vocals) and Terry Brennan (Vocals, Kazoo, Percussion).

With both an original repertoire and a vast array of covers, Cousin Earth brings both a sense of playfulness and technical ability to the music they play. From shredding ukulele solos and 4–part vocal breakdowns to interweaving themed medleys, the band is sure to catch the attention of any music lover. In the short time Cousin Earth has been a band, they've built an impressive internet presence and played shows throughout the Northeast, collaborating with artists such as Consider the Source, Andy Frasco, Primate Fiasco, and Teddy Midnight. The group has also received numerous positive reviews from the press. sums it up best: "Cousin Earth gets my recommendation for Band You Absolutely Need To Experience."

Upcoming Shows:
10/15 - Garcia's (Port Chester, NY) w/ Rocky & the Pressers and Fire Dept Club
10/16 - Bitter End (New York, NY) - CMJ performance
10/17 - Putnam Den (Saratoga, NY) w/ Melvin Seals and JGB
10/24 - Rocktoberfest (Killingworth, CT)
10/31 - Brickhouse Brewery (Patchogue, NY) w/ Oogee Wawa
11/6 - Electric Haze (Worcester, MA) w/ Way Up South
11/7 - The Spot (Providence, RI) w/ McLovins and Hayley Jane & The Primates
11/14 - TBA
11/20 - Bowery Electric (New York, NY) - ALBUM RELEASE PARTY! w/ Future Folk and Benyaro
12/11 - TBA

Click here for a Dropbox link for the Album Advance and EPK.
For videos visit our YOUTUBE CHANNEL
For press inquiries please reply here at:


As much as I'm trying to put on a brave face and cheer myself up, I can't end this post without mentioning the passing of Phil Taylor earlier in the week. Philthy Animal Taylor, Lemmy and Fast Eddie Clarke defined the very best of Motörhead for me. This was the line-up that continues to set the bar. You'll be missed Phil! RIP.

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