Led Kaapana is one of the best slack key players alive today. He is a living legend. He has a style that comes from his family in the days before TV, radio, internet — it’s down-home and real. His finger-pickin’ style extends to ‘ukulele – he just won his Na Hoku Award for Best ‘Ukulele –and to autoharp, and his vocal range encompasses baritone to Hawaiian falsetto singing (leo ki’e ki’e). Recognition by his peers earned Led four Grammy nominations in his own right and three Grammy wins on slack key compilations. A musical legend, he was honored with an NEA National Heritage Fellowship in 2011.
Led is joined by longtime collaborator Fran Guidry.
“Everything you play, every time you play, there’s a mood, an energy. If you plug into it, the music just flows. Even in a simple song, there are so many different ways to play the melody, the rhythm, the harmony. It never stops if you stay open to it.”
It’s not surprising that Tim and Myles Thompson’s new album, Time4Me2Go, is filled with complex, masterfully played tracks. Fans of their live shows are frequently dazzled by the often otherworldly, synchronized unity of their music. After all, the father / son duo have been playing together now for, basically, all of Myles’ 22 years.
“He was my biggest influence,” Myles says. “So it’s really not difficult to read his mind, musically.”
What IS surprising is the independent spirit that exists between the two musical partners, particularly when one of the partners is the father. “I stopped looking at Myles as a student years ago,” Tim says. “He’s become a great player and writer so he’s one of my peers.”
Live, the Thompsons present high-octane instrumental and vocal duets of improvised originals and classics reminiscent of legendary artists such as Chet Atkins, Stephan Grappelli, Chick Corea, Jackson Browne, Sam Bush and more. Although influenced by the masters, their down-to-earth style is all their own — a one-of-a-kind combination of improvisational jazz, traditional folk, singer-songwriter, country, rock and world music.