TUESDAY TUNES: Amy Kucharik, Jeffrey Lewis, Janice Whaley

A very happy 2014 to you!

Prior to my inadvertent blogging blackout, I started to learn ukulele.  Along with my knitting, learning the uke has kept me sane over the past few weeks.  I’ve been thinking about recording an EP of cover songs by a band I’ve loved for over half my life, and I’ve sought out inspiration from likeminded covers artists.

A while ago, my friend Geoff tipped me off to Jeffrey Lewis‘s 12 Crass Songs album, which strips down the hardcore punk of Crass and makes the revolutionary messages of its songs more accessible to a contemporary audience.  I love the subversive contrast between Lewis’s upspeaking voice and the tinkling arrangements, and the political lyrics.

I’m pretty sure I read about Janice Whaley‘s Smiths Project in the long-gone VenusZine, but for those of you who haven’t heard of it: Janice recorded the entire Smiths discography using only her voice.  The acapella arrangements — comparable to Bjork’s Medulla — give me chills.  This found-footage video for “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” will give you a taste for the rest of the project.

Finally, if you’re wondering what kind of lunatic would teach me how to play the ukulele, behold: my ukulele teacher Amy Kucharik.

(Can’t say her aside on the description doesn’t hit home with me, tee hee.)  If you’re a potential player in search of a teacher who will kick your ass and make you love the instrument, I can strongly suggest Amy.

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