Barefoot Natives

Slack Key Circus

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Willie K. and Eric Gilliom have a history of playing around and having fun, and this album is certainly no exception. The core of the music is built around the slack key, but not in the traditional formats. Normally, a good slack key or two would be the sole inhabitants of a piece of music, with maybe some vocals gently laid over the top. Here, the songs generally make use of a full band and dueling slack keys. The songs aren't the gentle pieces of delicate beauty that slack key is known for -- they're romping, rocking numbers ranging from something close to traditional all the way up to a rock-fusion piece that seems to exude elements of both gospel and Journey-style power ballads. Across the board, though, as the album romps and slithers between serenity and speed, it's always good fun. These two fine musicians have been hanging around together for a long time now -- they can play off of one another with ease, and it's rather clear in the result. Pick it up for a quick shot of fun semi-contemporary Hawaiian music, built on the classic forms but taken to a party format...and an excellent high-energy serenade to their true love: huli huli chicken.

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