LITTLE BOX OF SADNESS
If you are a blues fan in the Yorkton area you likely recall Hal Brolund. He used to be better known as Manitoba Hal, and performed at the Painted Hand Casino back in the day they offered blues nights.
Well, Hal has since moved to the East Coast, dropped the ‘Manitoba’ for obvious reasons, and has also found a new love, the ukulele. Yes I said the ukulele. For most of us the small stringed instrument conjures memories of school, where the ukelele was used as a sort of primer to the guitar.
In terms of musicians who play the ukulele professionally, well there was Tiny Tim and the Hawaiian star Don Ho, but generally we think of it as something of a novelty instrument.
Well listen to Little Box of Sadness and you find out a couple of things rather quickly. To begin with Brolund takes the music he plays with the ukulele pretty darn seriously.
And, secondly, the ukulele works nicely for the sort of roots blues music Brolund performs. I suppose that should be obvious when you consider the music is generally a music of the common people, and the ukulele would be an affordable, easily carried instrument.
The CD has eight songs, six by Brolund, including the best of the bunch Call of Angels, and the fun Line & Pole.
Built 4 Comfort by the great Willie Dixon is also included, as is the traditional Somebody On Your Bond.
This is a real solid, enjoyable roots blues CD, played with an instrument not often thought of, giving it something of a unique feel.
Definitely worth checking out to add to one’s CD collection.
Check it out at www.manitobahal.com
— CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 30, 2010 - Yorkton, SK. Canada