Noland embraces 'old guy sound' on his new CD


POSTED: Sunday, March 29, 2009

Brother Noland was jet-lagged. He sat at the bar of the new Kani Ka Pila Grille, drinking hot water with lemon and honey. He'd flown in from San Francisco late the night before, but this Sunday evening gig was a big deal, the launch party for his new CD, “;Hawaiian Man”; — invited guests, cocktails, buffet, and he and his band on stage intro'ing the album.

“;You get five minutes,”; he told me. That meant one question, since Noland isn't inclined to short answers.

“;OK,”; I said. “;How come you sound 80 years old on your new album?”;

That's almost literally true. Noland was the guy who invented Jawaiian and covered Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder songs. On “;Hawaiian Man,”; however, he sounds like an old guy in a Waimanalo garage. He channels Gabby, Bill Tapia, even Louis Armstrong, occasionally muttering to himself.

“;Everyone has a child inside them, and also an old soul,”; says Noland, discoursing on souls for a while. “;It's a cool sound, an old guy sound.”;

“;It's a mistake to think of every album as a progression,”; says his producer, Jon de Mello, from the other bar stool. “;Think of this album as a lateral move, allowing Noland to demonstrate the full range of his musicality.”;

“;Shoots,”; says Noland. “;What he said.”;


It's Google's World

The promise was that I would never see the world the same again. All I had to do was attend a brown bag lunch in the spanking new theater at Anthology Marketing Group — which is what you call the merged ad-PR-tech firms Laird Christianson, McNeil Wilson, Qmark, StarrTech and new Mainland partner Alt.

The speaker? Google tech wizard Michael Jones, who developed a few tools you may have heard of — Google Maps, Google Local Search, Google Earth.

Jones was vastly more entertaining than middle-aged bald tech guys are supposed to be, projecting the screen of his MacBook Pro as he flew through Google sites.

“;Did you know you could do this?”; he asks, zooming undersea to demonstrate how Mauna Kea was like a giant Hershey's Kiss with a few people living on the tip, or how people in Lahore, Pakistan, are mapping their own city with Google's help.

His goal? Organizing all the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful. Asked how all this information was going to change the world, Jones said, “;It's going to make smart people smarter. But I don't see how it's going to make clueless people get a clue. By a wide margin the No. 1 Google search is still ... Paris Hilton.”;


Read Any Good Books Lately?

Veteran ad man Richard Tillotson has slipped the surly bonds of commerce and become a full-fledged creative type. His first play, “;Inside Out,”; set box office records for TAG's new theater. Tillotson thought the main payoff would be the hours spent at downtown watering holes with the cast and director, polishing his script, but he reports happily, “;My royalty check was big enough it probably covered half my bar bills.”;

In addition, his novel, “;Acts Of God While On Vacation,”; is a semifinalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel competition. The book, which ranges from Borneo to London to Waikiki, is a sort of cosmic whodunit — and you can help his chances by reading an excerpt, for free at Amazon Shorts, and reviewing it.

“;I was amazed by my first reviewer,”; says Tillotson. It was two-time National Book Award winner Maxine Hong Kingston.


Poetic Justice at Pipeline

The biggest registered poetry slam competition in the world — the HawaiiSlam — lost its venue when the Hawaiian Hut shut down and had to move to the Hawaii Design Center. But the Design Center isn't large enough for the 600 or 700 people expected for this Thursday's Slam. So it's been moved to a rock 'n' roll venue, Pipeline Cafe.

Says Steven Kealohapau'ole Wong, better known as Kealoha: “;This is the finals. It's the 12 best poets from the 2008-2009 season fighting for their metaphoric lives in an all-out, three-round elimination match to determine the four members of the 2009 HawaiiSlam team.”;

Fighting for their metaphoric lives? “;I was being dramatic,”; says Kealoha, “;but it's going to be intense.”; Since Kealoha built HawaiiSlam into a cultural monster, he could just name himself to the team going to the nationals. Instead he's competing for one of the four slots. “;If I can't keep up with the crew, I don't deserve to represent.”;


Beard Bust

The San Francisco press is trumpeting the fact that all five nominees for this year's Pacific Region James Beard Best Chef honors are from the Bay Area. Southern California got shut out — and so did Hawaii, though none of the accounts mention that.

The three Hawaii chefs on the preliminary ballot (Hiroshi Fukui, Bev Gannon, Peter Merriman) got no aloha from the California Beard voters.

Don't expect this situation to change soon. Back when Hawaii chefs (Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong, George Mavrothalassitis) used to win Best Chef honors, they were competing against chefs in Washington and Oregon.

There's been a shuffle. Washington and Oregon face competition only from Idaho and Wyoming. Hawaii is now up against California, which has more Beard voters than anywhere else but New York (which has its own category).


Sing Along With Matt

At the opening of last week's Symphony Pops concert, Matt Catingub had a little onstage celebration of his 10th anniversary as Pops maestro, inviting a few of his friends to sing.

Backstage were Jimmy Borges, Henry Kapono and our musical mayor, Mufi Hannemann. They spotted “;Lost”; actor Michael Emerson there as well. “;Are you singing, too?”; Emerson was asked. “;Oh God, no,”; said Emerson. A jazz fan, he'd just slipped backstage to watch headliner Diana Krall.