The Castaways celebrate the release of their first full length CD at The Feedback Lounge in West Seattle on January 24th, 2014.
The Seattle Castaways announce the release of their new album Miniature Horses. This is the first full-length record for Seattle’s loudest ukulele band. Miniature Horses is a collection of universally loved pop and rock classics rethought for The Castaways’ unique ukulele-based rock and roll format. You’ve seen these songs covered before — but not like this.
Recorded in 2013, this new record will firmly establish The Castaways as not just a quirky and fun group of entertainers, but a talented group of rockers. The lush harmonies, solid grooves, and ripping uke solos will make you think differently about what a ukulele band can be. The record opens with an eye opening rendition of Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion, and will make you do a double take with Madonna’s Material Girl, Billy Idol’s White Wedding and Cake’s Short Skirt/Long Jacket.
Seattle music writer and owner of Seattle’s Feedback Lounge, Jeff Gilbert, says “Novelty? Yes and no. These are faithful, musical, and gleeful renditions of tried and true hits by Aerosmith, Johnny Cash, Madonna, Hall & Oates and The Rolling Stones. Who knew that classic rock played on ukuleles – surrounded by air-tight harmonies and kazoos (yeah, I said kazoos) – would hit that musical sweet spot that’s still there after all those years.”
The Castaways will celebrate the release of Miniature Horses on January 24th at the Feedback Lounge, Seattle, WA at 9 PM.
The band relaxing after busking.
The string players in the band found themselves holding gorgeous red ukuleles last week. They’re made by Kamoa, a Kauai based company that builds ukes with bright sound. Ed and I both visited the shop in Kapaa (on separate trips, the band’s Hawaii tour still remains an April Fool’s joke) where we met the family that runs the business. They were genuinely excited about what we do — so excited, in fact, that they sent us a shipment of instruments to play on our upcoming Evening Magazine segment. We’re still stretching the strings, but we’re digging the bright full sound and I’m not gonna downplay it — they look great.
[Pete, we’re sorry, no strings for you. Your day will come. Plus, you have all the toys.]
We want to give a big thank you shout out to Kamoa and the Bonnano crew, for their generosity. Or should we say “Mahalo nui loa and aloha!” And hey, should you find yourself in Kapaa, drop in to hear Sam noodling away — he can play something fierce.
It’s Thanksgiving this week, so we want to pass along our thanks to the people who have supported us this year.
- Urban Coffee Lounge has been letting us make noise in their place for over a year now and the staff, well, they say crazy things like, “I asked to work this shift because you guys are here.”
- C&P Coffee feels like home to us, partly because Mark and I both live in West Seattle, but mostly because the vibe here is so welcoming, it’s like being in your living room, only with better coffee. (Plus, it’s my local. You’ll find me here without the band.)
- The Feedback Lounge — also in West Seattle — was a band meeting venue before we started playing there, and it’s so our kind of place, we love the crowd, the badass yet so nice waitstaff, and the cocktails are arguably the best on the West side.
- Forza Coffee at Green Lake: Even when the house is packed, our man Murray says, “Why aren’t there more people here to see you? You guys rock.” And we still talk about the night Skip, the man at the helm, said, “Turn it up!” Win.
- Saint Bryan from Evening Magazine contacted us out of the blue to do a TV segment on us — and the ukulele — and we’re still getting love from that. Plus, hey, we’re on the tree lighting special, so tune in.
- We shot a video this summer — it’s in final edits — and we could not have done what we did without the gear provided by GoPro. (We kinda can’t wait to release this thing.)
- All our friends at SUPA, the Seattle Ukulele Players Association. They’re mad advocates for the magic of the uke. SUPA members keep showing up to our gigs and spreading the word about what we’re doing.
We are going to forget people, that is how many people we are grateful to for helping us on our way. Our super-fan Susan who keeps showing up, Jim’s wife, Blanca, who indulges us weekly at rehearsal, Gregg’s excellent ears, Jamie’s creative energy. Anyone who’s helped us haul gear and roll cables and shared our music and said, “No, I know, you think it’s a mellow acoustic band, but you gotta check ’em out, they’re perfect for your party.” We don’t mean to forget to name you, it’s just that there are so many people we should say think you to.
So just for a minute, we’re going to step away from the snark and the redaction and say this:
Thank you. You rock.
In September, we all went back to school. Jim’s a teacher; he headed back to work after a summer off. Pete and Ed went to California to racing school, and Mark started a class in something called “Sensory Evaluation” — it’s a wine thing. I started a ten week writing class. Oh, and Ed got a new job, too. So if we’ve been quiet – not in our nature – that’s why. We’ve been learnin’.
We’re still quietly wading – again, that quiet thing is not in our DNA — through a lot of band projects, though. Mark has been doing the heavy lifting on the production stuff we have going, as our producer and editor and guy who glues the digital pieces together, he’s had a full plate of mixing and remixing and recording and rerecording and splicing and filing and generally putting things in order, sometimes while indulging a certain (non) Diva’s desire to “lay that track down again please, it’s just not doing it for me.”
You might know by now that we do everything – nearly everything – ourselves. We’ve had photographers and, recently, a video producer, work with us from time to time, but booking, promotions, production, communication, arrangement, most of our sound (sometimes, we’re lucky and we get a guy with the stage but usually, nope) those great posters, our web site, logistics… you get the drill… that’s all us. Things slow down sometimes because we’re tackling something called a “corkscrew curve” or wrangling 4th graders. That’s where we’ve been. Studying oenology and the narrative arc and shaping future generations, that’s all. Rock and roll!
Now that we’re knee deep in fall, we’re playing more shows. We were so happy to be back on the tiny stage at Urban Coffee Lounge — we missed you guys! We played a second show at the Feedback Lounge, a bar that has arguably the best cocktails in Seattle, to a full house. We’re doing another show at C&P Coffee this fall, a place where we feel so welcome and, let’s be honest, buzzed on their brew. It’s great to be making noise again.
You guys are kind of a big production! — Tim, Feedback Lounge
We got Sixer, our EP, into the digital world – get a download now, it’s only six bucks! This means you can take our music with you, like that nice woman who thought we’d be the perfect soundtrack for her cabin near Talkeetna, Alaska. It’s not quite like being on tour, but we can pretend. The DIY nature of how we roll means that our next release will be ready when it’s ready, and not a minute before, but that will be available as a download too, so you won’t have to come see us to get it.
But you should. Because – we can’t say this enough – we love it when you come out and say hello in person. Pete never gets tired of explaining that yes, that sound is coming from that box. And those of us on the uke, we enjoy your uke stories, it’s fun to know that you’re teaching yourself Skynyrd on that uke your uncle found in his attic or that your kid insisted she wanted nothing more than a ukulele for her birthday this year, and oops, now you can’t put it down.
Video by the Ukulele Underground. Castaways approved.
We’re always looking for new places to play, so if your local café or pub has live music, put in a good word for us or get in touch, wouldja? In the meantime, we hope you’re spending fall learning new things and that back to school, whatever that means for you, has rocked.