Author Archives: Admin

Being painted!

At a recent gig, Steve Elliot asked me if he could paint my portrait, and of course I said, “Yes!”. At the time I had no idea just how brilliant he is.

Steve often works digitally, and here’s a video of the portrait being painted which is really fascinating to watch. Thanks Steve!


Old-time banjo

Since my visit to Sore Fingers I’ve been exploring old-time music more and more, and have headed back to my 5 string banjo to do it (though a lot of it also works really well on the uke).

Here’s “Angeline the Baker”

Festival madness!

I’ve just had a couple of months of very intense festival-ing! Starting with The Grand Northern Uke Festival at the beginning of May, I then flew off to California for a week at The West Coast Ukulele Retreat,  then Winchester Uke Fest, followed by The Ukulele Festival of Scotland, and finally (the final) Ukulele Festival of Great Britain.

Getting a little help from Dead Man’s Uke at The Ukulele Festival of Scotland. Photo by James Millar.

All of these events were so different, each really special in it’s own way. Some (like the West Coast Retreat, which isn’t a festival!) are more geared towards learning, immersing yourself in ukulele, guided by instructors, whilst others are more biased towards performances, but what struck me most was what they all had in common. Great people, great experiences (for attendees and performers), and wonderful friends. I feel immensely privileged to be in this remarkable world.

photo: James Millar

Sore Fingers Bluegrass and Old-time week and forthcoming weekend.

It was a real pleasure to be a tutor at Sore Fingers, and wonderful to be surrounded by so many amazing musicians. The really good news is that I’m doing it again in October! The shorter October camp (21st and 22nd Oct) is an ideal opportunity to come and study uke with me and to meet other musicians, jam, and generally immerse yourself in great music in the beautiful Cotswolds!

Booking is now open, all the info you need is here:

Narrowboat Session

Me and Ian were really pleased to be able to do a Narrowboat Session recently. The Narrowboat Sessions raise money for Cancer Reserach UK, and feature some stellar talent that we’re very happy to be associated with! It was great fun; here’s the video of the first of the songs we recorded, “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”.

One of the ways they raise money is by selling CDs of some of the songs from the sessions. The 2014 CD can be bought from their website,

New book “How Music Works on the Ukulele”

I’m really pleased to announce that my new book has just been released. Here’s the blurb…

How Music Works on the Ukulele book coverHow Music Works on the Ukulele is an invaluable resource for ukulele players who want to move on from simply ‘following the pictures’ and begin to understand how the music they are playing works. Learn techniques and concepts that will allow you to jam with others without resorting to song sheets, recognise the patterns that make learning new songs a breeze, work out songs by ear, and create your own music. No prior knowledge is assumed, and no music reading is necessary, as everything is shown on the ukulele fingerboard.

It’s a 64 page, A4 wire-bound book, and it costs £15 plus p&p. You can order it now by going to the shop page.

3 Questions with Jim D’Ville

It was an absolute pleasure to meet up with Jim D’Ville at the West Coast Ukulele Retreat in California. I’ve been aware of his ‘3 Questions’ series of videos since they first started in 2009, and they have featured many of my uke heroes. I was so pleased when Jim asked me to do one, and here it is!

Go and check out Jim’s other interviews (I’m in stellar company!) at and while you’re there, check out the rest of his material, there’s so much great stuff whatever level of uke player you are.