Jake Shimabukuro

Walking Down Rainhill
Hitchhike Records

Although this is not his latest disc, musically I like this one better than the new one. Jake Shimabukuro is the Django Reinhardt of the Ukulele (pronounced ooo-koo-lay-lay, not yew-ka-lay-lee), and is an incredible musician, regardless of how some regard his chosen axe. There is some forgettable jazz-lite here, but the solid tracks, like opener "Heartbeat" and his take on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", more than compensate.

The songs were multi-tracked in a studio in Hawaii, with Shimabukuro often building up layers of uke parts. Still the instruments sound natural and the recording has a nice punch to it. The version I picked up at Amazon.com also came with a DVD that documents the artist in the studio, and explains how they got his acoustic uke to sound like Steve Vai's electric guitar on a couple tracks.

Still not sure about this one? Check out the video below and be mightily impressed.