Riding that Taos groove

Beat Root Revival, Jake Shimabukuro and Lake Street Dive in the park

By Ariana Kramer
Posted 7/2/19

Unwind from the week, and continue your Independence Day celebration with an evening of music at Kit Carson Park on Friday (July 5) hosted by the town of Taos as part of its annual …

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Riding that Taos groove

Beat Root Revival, Jake Shimabukuro and Lake Street Dive in the park


Unwind from the week, and continue your Independence Day celebration with an evening of music at Kit Carson Park on Friday (July 5) hosted by the town of Taos as part of its annual Fourth of July Hometown Celebration. The night opens with Beat Root Revival at 5:30 p.m., followed by Hawaiian ukulele artist Jake Shimabukuro at 6:30 p.m. and Lake Street Dive’s soul, R&B and emphatic rock 'n' roll at 8 p.m.

Austin-based Beat Root Revival is Ben Jones and Andrea Magee. The musical duo originally came to this country from England and Ireland with only a guitar, a bodhrán and a wish to share their songs which combine folk, blues, country and rock – and feature powerful harmonies.

Next up, Hawaiian musician Jake Shimabukuro performs with bassist Nolan Verner and guitarist Dave Preston. This dynamic trio is touring the country showcasing Shimabukuro’s unique ukulele style which became famous in 2005 when a YouTube video of Shimabukuro playing George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral. Shimabukuro has since been called “one of the hottest axmen of the past few years who doesn’t actually play guitar" by Rolling Stone Magazine.

Shimabukuro said his rendition of Harrison’s famous song was meant to include as many different aspects of the ukelele’s sound as possible.

“I was trying to come up with an arrangement that incorporated a lot of the different techniques that I play on ukelele. There’s a lot of finger arpeggio playing and some frenetic strumming and quick right-hand work, and some counterpoint and interesting chord voicings. I was trying to throw as much as I could into that arrangement,” Shimabukuro said. "I approached it as if I could only play one song — what could I play that would demonstrate a lot of the different timbres of the ukulele?”

The song appears on Shimabukuro’s latest album, “The Greatest Day,” alongside covers of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and original pieces such as the title track which Shimabakuro wrote the night before he recorded it, and “Straight As” a solo piece inspired by the ukelele’s A string. “Mahalo John Wayne" was written by Shimabukuro as a homage to the great western actor. John Wayne was the favorite actor of Shimabukuro’s father – he named his son Jake after the John Wayne movie “Big Jake.” “Mahalo” means “thank you” in Hawaiian and in his song Shimabukuro is thanking John Wayne for his name.

Shimabukuro has played at the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center and the Sydney Opera House. His songs have topped the Billboard World Music Charts and he has entertained Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. For his Taos concert, Shimabukuro will perform his instrumental tunes from his current projects as well as favorites that span his 15-year career. Though he has been to New Mexico before, this will be Shimbakuro’s first time playing in Taos, and he said he is really looking forward to the experience.

Lake Street Dive formed when four students of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston decided to pursue music together: Michael Calabrese (drums), Bridget Kearney (bass), Rachael Price (vocals) and Michael “McDuck” Olson (guitar, trumpet). They were joined in 2017 by Akie Bermiss (keyboard).

In 2018, Lake Street Dive released “Free Yourself Up,” their second album under the Nonesuch Records label. It made the top 10 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the noncommercial radio charts for more than seven months. The lead single, “Good Kisser,” stayed in the top five of Americana radio for more than a month. Lake Street Dive most recently released “Freak Yourself Out,” an EP of bonus tracks from their recording sessions for “Free Yourself Up.”

Calabrese said the band members work collectively to write their songs – they all bring lyrics and ideas to the table, and all work on arrangements. They have no bandleader, which Calabrese credits as part of the reason they’ve been able to stay together for 15 years. He also said the band’s messages have evolved as they have aged and are having different life experiences than they did when they were younger.

“Some of us got married, some had kids,” said Calabrese. “We’re well into our thirties now. Not only are we not going to write break-up songs about our wives, we also are citizens of the world now. We’re adults, and have more adult concerns. Part of the 'free yourself up' theme is to untether from the idea that all pop songs have to be about love. Maybe we can write a song about politics, or a love song about the human condition, or love in a universal sense rather than romantic love.”

Asked what people can expect from their Taos show, Calabrese said, “Expect a lot of new – you’ll hear some new, new stuff and some old favorites but always delivered in the same dancey and uplifting performance that we take care to craft.”

For more information on Friday’s bands, visit beatrootrevival.com, jakeshimabukuro.com and lakestreetdive.com.

Friday’s show is $27; free for youth under age 16; a weekend festival pass is $59. Tickets are available at taos.org/events/celebrate-4th-july-taos. Gates open at 4:30 p.m.


Lake Street Dive, Beat Root Revival, Jake Shimabukuro

Friday (July 5), 5:30 p.m.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m.

Kit Carson Park, 211 Paseo del Pueblo Norte

Tickets $27, free for youth under 16



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