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Lahaina's Second Jazz & Blues Walk

As featured in The Maui News April 12, 2012-Written by Jon Woodhouse

The Shins’ James Mercer has a knack for composing brilliant pop songs. Meticulously crafted, they recall the exuberant arty pop of The Kinks and the experimental grandeur of the late ’60s Beach Boys. On the brand-new album, “Port of Morrow,” you can even hear echoes of the melodic finesse of the Beatles on tracks like “Fall of ’82” and “It’s Only Life.”

Back in 2004, the band’s radiant appeal was captured by actress Natalie Portman, in a scene in the hip movie “Garden State,” when she played their ballad “New Slang” for co-star Zach Braff, gushing, “You’ve got to hear this song. It will change your life.”

“I’ve always had this pop music and R&B and psychedelic stuff in my writing,” says Mercer. “Probably because my dad and uncle had that around when I was a kid living in Hawaii. And songwriting-wise I learned so much from the Beatles. They push you, so you have a lot to aspire to. On the new record we used the same Fairchild optical compressor that the Beatles used so much, so there’s a sonic quality that harkens back to those EMI productions.”

Born at Tripler Hospital on Oahu, as a kid Mercer moved around with his dad who was in the Air Force, landing in “new wave” England in the mid-1980s for his final three years of high school.

“When I first started playing in bands, I was accused of imitating an English accent,” he recalls, laughing. “I learned to sing singing along to Morrissey and The Smiths, Echo and The Bunnymen, all these British bands. I wanted to be in a band and I really loved the British music scene I was surrounded by.”

After settling in Albuquerque, N.M., he formed The Shins with some friends in 1997. Releasing their debut album, “Oh, Inverted World,” a few years later, The Shins were hailed as one of the rising stars of American indie rock.

Their follow-up, “Chutes Too Narrow,” was also critically praised (“10 perfect songs,” raved Uncut) with Entertainment Weekly ranking it fourth in their “Records of the Year” list and Rolling Stone including it in the “50 Best Albums of 2003.”

Then along came that little movie “Garden State,” and their lives changed almost overnight.

“It exposed a lot of young people to our music, which was a huge benefit,” says Mercer. “But then there were the music snobs who weren’t going to let Natalie Portman tell them what’s cool.”

Mercer knew two of his songs would be featured in the film, but he had no idea that it would include a scene with such an enthusiastic endorsement by the actress.

“By the time the movie had come out I had forgotten about it,” he says. “We had said yes early on and then it was a hit movie. I finally went and saw it. I wanted to understand why people were interviewing me about it. I shrank down in my seat and (thought), oh, my God.”

The Shins’ third album, the Grammy-nominated “Wincing the Night Away,” became their highest-charting disc, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and selling more than 100,000 copies its first week. Britain’s music mag Q praised its, “super-smart pop music the way they used to make it 20 years ago.”

In 2010, Mercer teamed with producer Danger Mouse to create the brilliantly inventive “Broken Bells.” Sounding like shimmering Shins merged with Zero 7’s electronica, Rolling Stone hailed it as, “the year’s coolest left-field pop disc.”

Now Mercer is back with a newly-augmented Shins. Former band mates are gone, replaced by singer/songwriter Richard Swift, drummer Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse), bassist Yuuki Matthews (Crystal Skulls) and guitarist Jessica Dobson (Beck).

“I decided I needed to break out and work with other musicians, in part because I thought the music would benefit from having a fresh perspective, which I had experienced with Broken Bells,” Mercer explains. “Then the question comes up, why are you allowed to do this? Well, the first Shins’ things that ever existed were things I did alone in my bedroom. I basically hired my friends to tour and over time it becomes your livelihood and your friends’ livelihood. But I was getting unhappy and needed the freedom to work with anybody. It’s exciting to have the new record out.”

* The Shins play the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $35 and $45, plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or


Opening at the Pioneer Inn from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday with the Hot Club of Hulaville (whose “Django Would Go!” won 2011 Hoku Award for Jazz Album of the Year), the second annual Front Street Jazz and Blues Walk presents a tasty smorgasbord of jazz and blue talent throughout Lahaina. Other participating venues include Longhi’s, Blue Lagoon, Captain Jack’s, the Hard Rock Cafe, Kimo’s, Maui Grown Coffee and Campbell Park.

Saxophonist Marion Meadows heads the bill at Longhi’s on Saturday. A former session player with artists like Brook Benton, The Temptations and Michael Bolton, Meadows was a member of the New York avant-garde band Aboriginal Music Society. He later became a staple of the smooth jazz genre with popular albums like “Keep It Right Here,” “Forbidden Fruit’ and “Body Rhythm.” His latest CD, “Secrets,” features a cool cover of Pat Metheny’s “Here to Stay.”

Longhi’s has two shows on Friday – Mike Bouno, John Zangrando, Shiro Mori and Doug White play from 6 to 8 p.m. (Shiro, drummer Paul Marchetti and bassist Danny M. superbly backed trombone great Delfeayo Marsalis last week.)

They will be followed by David Choy and SLAM playing from 9 to 11 p.m. The Latin Jazz Messengers play the Hard Rock Cafe from 8 to 11 p.m. Blues/rock with Bob Jones & The Drive at Captain Jack’s from 8 to 10 p.m. The Blue Lagoon features Benoit Jazz Works from 4 to 6 p.m. Willie K rocks Kimo’s from 9 to 11 p.m., and at Campbell Park, Phil Smith and the Gentlemen of Jazz perform from 6 to 8 p.m.

Saturday Fulton Tashombe’s Maui All-Star Jazz Band will entertain at the Pioneer Inn from 6 to 9 p.m. At Longhi’s there’s SLAM and Marion Meadows and an after- party with Hot Club of Hulaville. The Soul Congress featuring Clay Mortensen plays Hard Rock from 5 to 7 p.m. Blue Lagoon from 4 to 6 p.m. features Sal Godinez and Bob Harrison, and the Lahainaluna Jazz Band will perform at Maui Grown Coffee Company from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

And a finale on Sunday night at the Banyan Tree Park gathers R.E. Metoyer Blues, Rock & Soul Revue and the Sam Ahia Quartet.

Most of the performances are presented free of charge.


Across the water from the west side, the second annual Lanai Ukulele Festival presents an exceptional lineup including Richard Ho’opi’i, Kawika Kahiapo, Byron Yasui, CJ “Boom” Helekahi, Benny Uyetake, the Hula Honeys, the Lanai Kupuna Ukulele Group and the Kalama School Ukulele Band.

Beginning on Friday, the three-day free event hosted by the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai, features performances at Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele, plus at Coffee Works, Caf 565 and Blue Ginger Caf. Besides the performances, Kaliko Beamer Trapp will conduct Hawaiian language and ukulele workshops.

Visiting kamaaina can take advantage of a special accommodation package during the fest, starting at $199 per night at Manele Bay and $179 at The Lodge. Call 800 321-4666 for reservations.


Lukas Nelson returns home with Promise of the Real to play Charley’s Restaurant on April 20 and 21. The band just released the album “Wasted,” which it previewed on David Letterman last week.

Neil Young suggested Lukas record the album live in the studio in analog.

“It really added a lot of magnetism, energy, and that live feel, and a lot of warmth to it,” Lukas said in an interview. “I feel like this record sounds more like what you get when you see us perform.”

His dad, Willie Nelson, also has a new album with a release date of May 15. Just in time for Willie’s 79th birthday, the recording includes some songs featuring both Lukas and Micah Nelson.

Along with interpretations of tunes by Coldplay (“The Scientist”) and Pearl Jam (“Just Breathe”), Willie reaches back to the 1930s for the ballad, “My Window Faces the South,” and includes his new tune “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” joined by pals Snoop Dogg and Kris Kristofferson.

Maui Market Activity March 2012

The recently released March 2012 sales statistics from the Realtors Association of Maui highlighted some interesting market activity. Island wide residential sales held steady in March, while land sales increased and condo sales increased significantly. Particularly interesting and important are the absorption rates of 9.6% for residential and 8.7% for condos.

Here is a link to the RAM (Realtors Association of Maui) statistics:

If you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling property on Maui or to discuss the market in general or by region please call The Hansen Ohana at (808)280-2764 or email us any time.

Maui Week of Events – Friday, April 6

Maui Events week of Friday, April 6 – As posted in

Photo by Brenton Keith

Friday, April 6

ART WITH A HEART’S ‘SILENCE AND NOISE’-Art with Heart will have its second benefit show, called “Silence and Noise,” at 5:30 p.m. in the Seabury Hall cafeteria and performing art center. The visual and performing arts two-day event starts with a gallery exhibition of painting, photography, drawing and design. At 7 p.m., move into the performing arts center to enjoy live performances of music, dance and poetry readings. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students, available for preorder and at the night of the show. Art with Heart is a Seabury Hall student-run philanthropy club that brings high school student artists together to share original works with the community and to make a positive difference on the world. All proceeds will go to Build Africa. Call 573-1257 for reservations.

‘CINDERELLA’ OPENS AT PROARTS IN KIHEI-“Cinderella” opens at 7:30 tonight at the ProArts Playhouse and runs Thursdays to Sundays through April 22, starting next week. Several cast members return from the previous ProArts fractured fairy tale productions including Bill Schnitzer, Vinnie Linares, Rose Roselinsky, Dale Button and Kristi Scott along with newcomers Casey Murphy (in the title role), Mark Bolden, Sarah Loney, and Dylan Bode. Tickets are $15 for reserved seating or $10 for the keiki floor seating. For reservations or more information, call 463-6550 or visit For more information, see Backstage.

SATURDAY, april 7

‘CINDERELLA’ TAKES THE STAGE IN KIHEI-ProArts’ “Cinderella” takes the stage at 4 p.m. at its Kihei playhouse. (No shows will be held on Easter Sunday). See Friday’s listing.

SEABURY’S ART WITH HEART FUNDRAISER-Art with Heart’s “Silence and Noise” continues at 5:30 p.m. in the Seabury Hall cafeteria and performing art center. See Friday’s listing.

JOHN CRUZ PLAYS AT STELLA BLUES CAFE-John Cruz will perform during Stella’s Supper Club tonight. Four-course dinner and show starts at 6 p.m.; showtime is 7:30 p.m. Cost is $60 and $30, respectively. The warm, soulful singer-songwriter headlined four galas during President Barack Obama’s inauguration and recently performed for and met with the president during a visit to Hawaii. For information, visit

DELFEAYO MARSALIS PERFORMS IN WAILEA-Delfeayo Marsalis performs with drummer Paul Marchetti, pianist Shiro Mori and bassist Danny M. at the Grand Wailea’s Tsunami Club from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. For details, see Maui Beat.


ONO! RETURNS WITH ‘FOOLS’ IN WAILUKU-Maui OnStage’s ONO! returns with Neil Simon’s “Fools,” at 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Iao Theater. Set in turn-of-the-century Russia, schoolteacher named Leon Tolchinsky accepts a position in an isolated Ukrainian village. He soon learns that the inhabitants believe that a sorcerer had cursed them with stupidity. For details about the monthly free theater series, visit


BRENTON KEITH WILL WOW YOU IN WAILEA-Be amused and amazed by the high-energy comedy and magic of Brenton Keith & His Bag O’ Tricks during his free show from 7 to 8 p.m. at Mulligan’s on the Blue in Wailea. This charismatic performer has been astonishing Hawaii for more than 15 years with his unique style of interactive Tom Foolery. Appearing goldfish, cards thrown on the ceiling and many more surprises are in store. Check out

MICHAEL LENKE AND KKHS BAND TO PLAY-Celebrated trumpeter Michael Lenke will perform with student musicians and singers from King Kekaulike High School at the free 15th annual KKHS Spring Concert at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center at 7 p.m. The concert features the KKHS Jazz Ensemble, the KKHS Concert Choir and the KKHS Wind Ensemble under the direction of Casey T. Nagata. For details, see Maui Beat.


MHS BAND, PATRICK HENRY HUGHES SHOW-Maui High School Band students, under the direction of band director Kerry Wasano, will perform with pianist, vocalist and trumpet player Patrick Henry Hughes at 7 p.m. in the MACC’s Castle Theater. The event celebrates 65 years of Imua Family Services outreach. Tickets are $20 for adults, and $10 for kids 12 years and younger. See Maui Beat.

Record High Number of Visitors to Our Website

Statistics regularly reflect the important role of internet marketing when it comes to real estate. The Hansen Ohana understands that and invests heavily in our user friendly website. We are proud to announce that for the month of March 2012, we broke the 200,000 visitor barrier with 218,029 visitors. That’s an all new all time high for any month and incredible exposure for our featured listings.

If you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling property on Maui please call us at (808)280-2764 or email us any time.