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triocoverWhen The Masks Come Down

Jake Shimabukuro Trio

Label: Music Theories

Release Date: February 14, 2020

Review Date: January 20, 2020


I don’t know about y’all, but, until recently, if anyone mentioned the ukulele to me, I instantly had flashbacks of Tiny Tim. I’m sorry. I just couldn’t help it. That’s the baby boomer in me and no amount of therapy has been able to rid me of those haunting memories (sorry, Tiny. RIP).

However, though he’s been on my radar, I hate to admit that I’ve only recently listened to the music of an amazing ukuleleist, Jake Shimabukuro. All I can say is that I wish I had listened to this man’s work a heck of a lot sooner. It rocks. It really, truly does! And nothing demonstrates that more than his latest CD, Trio.

The title reflects the fact that, for the past five years, bassist Nolan Verner has been a constant presence on stage and in the studio with Shimabukuro, and two years ago, guitarist Dave Preston joined the fold. The three clicked so well on the road and during the recording of Shimabukuro’s 2018 album, The Greatest Day, that the ukulele master decided to document their sonic alchemy in a more official way on his newest album.

Trio is nothing short of amazing. Go ahead and think “Tiny Tim” as I tell you about this disc by a ukulele maestro. Then, listen to it and you’ll be blown away as I have been.

The entire disc is great mood music; relaxing music; inspiring music. It’s just great music from groove to groove. From the first cut (When The Mask Comes Down), it grabs you by the ear drums and doesn’t let go until the ending strains of the final cut.

If I were to pick a song or two as calling cards for the entire disc, I’d have to point to the trio’s covers of either Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” or Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” (the aforementioned final cut). On the latter, Rachel James lends her voice to the classic and sounded so much like Stevie Nicks that I had to look it up to make sure that I read correctly as to who was providing the vocals on the song.

Yeah, she’s that good.

Trust me on this: Trio is well worth picking up. You’ll become a lifelong fan of Jake and the guys after you give it a thorough listen.