Ken Emerson & Jim 'Kimo' West

Santa Barbara Acoustic Music Association Presents:

Ken Emerson & Jim 'Kimo' West

Mon 10.14.19

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

$15/$18

This event is all ages

Ken Emerson
Ken Emerson
Ken plays both Hawaiian Slack Key and lap steel guitar and switches easily between them during his performance, laying his guitar on his lap and picking up a steel bar for an instrumental interlude. This requires a special finesse and light touch because the slack key guitar has lower action than a dedicated lap steel guitar.

He has developed his unique style through many musical genres. He has played his special blend of Blues/Jazz Hawaiian guitar for 40 years.. Born into a musical family, Ken grew up with his fathers' extensive record collection of jazz, swing, Hawaiian and world music styles.

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, He played the folk and blues songs of the early '60s, learning right hand fingerstyle techniques that led to his development as a fingerstyle picker.
With the explosion of the San Francisco sound of the mid- later '60's Ken also immersed himself into rock and electric blues styles. He was particularly drawn to bottleneck and slide guitar.
In 1968 Ken's family moved to Hawaii. Absorbing the Hawaiian culture, Ken began studying Hawaiian language and music emulating the players of the 1920's and '30s era by listening to vintage Hawaiian 78 rpm records, zeroing in on the jazz and blues styles of Sol Ho'opi'i and Sol K. Bright.

Soon Ken was playing alongside such legendary performers as Gabby Pahinui, Genoa Keawe, Raymond Kane, and Moe Keale.
Dividing his time between Kaua'i and San Francisco, Ken plays many Hawaiian venues and festivals and frequently tours the east coast of the United States as well as Europe and Asia.
"Emerson writes pieces that update the classic sounds of Hawaiian Slack Key guitar. His unaccompanied songs have an open, relaxing quality to them, moving forward in a gentle rhythm.."
Jessy Terry, Rolling Stone Magazine

"Ken Emerson's style reflects the Hawaiian guitar's grassroots origins of a century ago. He taps into classic jazz and blues influences as well as Latin styles, completing a cultural circle from the first vaquero guitarists through jazz steel guitar virtuoso Sol Ho'opi'i and into new unexplored musical territories"
Maryanne Cord, Hanaola Records
Jim Kimo West
Jim Kimo West
Jim Kimo West is recognized as one of the world’s top “slack key” guitarists and brings his own unique musical perspective to this great acoustic guitar tradition. He is a recent nominee in the 61st Grammy Awards, a winner of the 2008 Hawaii Music Awards, a three-time Na Hoku Hanohano (the Hawaiian “Grammy”) nominee and a two-time winner of the LA Treasures Award for his contributions toward the perpetuation of ki ho’alu.

In 1985, after a long summer on the road with musical satirist “Weird Al” Yankovic, Jim West made his first trip to Hana, Maui and fell in love with cultural and physical landscape of Hawai’i, sometimes spending a couple months a year there. It was there that he also discovered “ki ho ‘alu” or as it is more commonly called, “slack key” guitar, an old Hawaiian style of playing where the strings are loosened or “slacked” to different tunings, allowing the bass, chords and melody to be played simultaneously.

Already a devotee of playing in altered, non- standard tunings, he quickly fell in love with the gentle spirit of slack key and the great sense of discovery that comes with exploring new tunings. Records by Gabby Pahinui, The Sons of Hawai’i, The Sunday Manoa and Peter Moon played continuously on the turntable or cassette deck and Jim absorbed ki ho ‘alu more or less, by osmosis. Jim didn’t concentrate on learning the standard riffs and songs but instead, developed his own slack key vocabulary, which now defines his very unique approach to this great tradition.

His numerous CD’s fuse traditional slack key with his own musical language, while still retaining the essence of its “nahenahe” or “gentle” style. Jim, or “Kimo” as he is called in Hawai’i, has performed at most of the Slack Key guitar festivals in Hawaii and on the mainland. His playing has been featured in a number of films, TV spots, the Disney Channel and National Public radio and he has shared the stage with most of the living legends of ki hoa’lu.

Between composing commissions and slack key guitar playing, Kimo also finds time to hone his production chops and has produced CD’s for a number of independent artists. Some recent projects include “Eia Mai Ka La-Here Comes The Sun” (The Mountain Apple Company) for Los Angeles-based Hawaiian performer Kapo Ku and Hawaiian tributes to Sublime and the Eagles for LA’s CMH Records (cmhrecords.com). His film and TV credits include work for 20th Century Fox, Nickolodeon, The Disney Channel and Marvel. Kimo's music has been heard on all major networks, in many documentaries as well as in web series. His new CD, “Moku Maluhia-Peaceful Island" features pristine recordings of all original-slack key compositions in the “nahenahe” style.
Venue Information:
SOhO Restaurant and Music Club
1221 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101