A couple of years ago, the legendary rock band Little Feat celebrated its 40th anniversary by inviting some friends and admirers to record new versions of songs from its extensive repertoire. The resulting "Join The Band," featured collaborations with a diverse array of artists - from Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews and Bob Seger, to Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, and Brooks and Dunn - reflecting the group's wide appeal.
"That was phenomenal, and the way that they joined the band," enthuses Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere. "We sent Dave Mathews a snaky version of 'Fat Man in the Bathtub' and it was incredible what we got back. People really got creative within the framework of it all. Brooks and Dunn did 'Willin' as a straight-ahead Nashville country tune. I'm amazed how far the tentacles of Little Feat go throughout the musical community."
Barrere, who composed some of the band's most popular songs including "Feats Don't Fail Me Now, " "Time Loves a Hero" and "Skin It Back," is currently touring with fellow Feat guitarist Fred Tackett, as an acoustic duo. They play the MACC on Friday evening.
A pair of great guitarists Fred Tackett and Paul Barrere.
The Maui Pops Orchestra bring songs of the season to the MACC
"For years when Little Feat was on the road, radio stations would ask if a couple of guys could come down and play a couple of songs. So Fred and I, being guitarists, became the usual suspects," he explains the seeds of their partnership. "We did it for years, and then got invited to tour Japan, and we've been doing it ever since when Little Feat has down time."
Performing songs from the Little Feat catalogue along with covers of songs by artists ranging from The Band to Willie Nelson, Barrerre says the two guitarists enjoy the down-home context.
"We can portray Little Feat songs in their infancy, how they were written, and I'm able to tell an audience where the songs came from," he notes. "We give them a little bluesier and folkier slant."
The two guitarists have played together since first collaborating in 1972 on the seminal "Dixie Chicken" album.
"Ever since that time, even though he didn't join Little Feat until 1988, we've done a lot of session work together and been complementing each other's styles forever," Barrerre continues.
Besides playing with Little Feat, Tackett has recorded and toured with an amazing roster of artists including Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers, Jackson Browne, Vince Gill, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Rod Stewart and Ringo Starr.
"His discography is phenomenal," says Barrerre. "He got discovered in Hawaii. He was playing in a show band in Oklahoma City and they got a gig in Honolulu in the mid-'60s. And one night (Grammy-winning composer) Jimmy Webb walks in to see the band, and says to him, 'We're going back to L.A.' That's how he wound up in L.A."
Since their earliest days, Little Feat's innovative mix of rock, blues, country and funk earned a devoted cult following and fans in rock stars like Mick Jagger and Robert Plant, through to contemporary artists like Phish.
"Both Mick and Robert Plant had some wonderful quotes that really helped us when we went over there," he says. "I think they liked the complexity of our music. It had a funky groove to it, but it was different from the usual pop act from the States. They found something magnetic about Little Feat's music."
Most recently, jam band stars Phish paid homage to the band on Halloween, playing their epic live album, "Waiting for Columbus," in its entirety. In the concert program, Phish's Trey Anastasio declared: "We may have learned more from Little Feat than any other band."
"That was an amazing tribute," Barrere reports. "It opened a lot of doors to listeners who don't know Little Feat. Our website blew up with people checking us out. It was very flattering."
* Paul Barrerre and Fred Tackett play the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's McCoy Studio Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $35 and $55 plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org.
The Maui Pops Orchestra will present its annual Holiday Pops concert on Sunday in the MACC's Castle Theater featuring guest artists the Honolulu Symphony Chorus.
"I want to make the program listener-friendly for the holiday spirit," says Pops conductor Jim Durham. "The first half of the program is all orchestra, featuring familiar holiday music arranged for orchestra, including 'White Christmas,' 'Christmas Festival' and 'Winter Wonderland.' The first half ends with music from Rodgers' 'The King and I,' and the second half features the Honolulu Symphony Chorus."
After intermission the program includes an arrangement of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" for chorus and orchestra, "The Many Moods of Christmas" and selections from Handel's "The Messiah" (Overture, "And the glory of the Lord," "For unto us a Child is born," Pastoral Symphony, and "Hallelujah!").
"Finally, we have an audience singalong with the chorus of favorite holiday carols," says Durham.
* The Maui Pops Orchestra presents a Holiday Pops concert at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the MACC's Castle Theater. Tickets are $10, $21, $26, $41 (plus applicable fees) and half-price for kids 12 and under, available as above.
Celebrating the release of his latest CD, "Willie Wonderland," Willie K will present a special Christmas concert at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Maui Tropical Plantation.
Ten years after releasing his Hoku award-winning "Willie Kalikimaka," Willie's back with another winning Christmas collection, featuring a host of Maui musicians helping out.
Updating seasonal favorites like "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" (a duet with Alaka'i Paleka) and "Winter Wonderland" with a tasty jazz twist, Willie is backed by some of our top jazz musicians including pianist Brian Cuomo, bassist Bob Harrison and drummer Paul Marchetti. Singing guests on the album include Kelly Covington, Napua Makua and Lehua Kalima. And classical fans will enjoy his lovely version of Schubert's "Ave Maria."
* Musicians CJ Helekahi and Leokane Pryor will also perform at the concert and Alaka'i will emcee. Doors open at 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $20, day of show tickets are $25. Kids 12 and under are admitted free.
Maui's Winery and Ulupalakua Ranch will host another free "Ulupalakua Sparkles" event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday with entertainment by multi-Na Hoku-winning musicians Amy Hanaiali'i and Jeff Peterson.
Amy's latest album, "Amy Hanaiali'i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii," features collaborations with some of our most gifted slack key guitarists including Cyril Pahinui and Dennis Kamakahi.
Jeff masterminded the project, playing guitar and ukulele and composing six tracks, including crafting for the first time vocal songs with Hawaiian lyrics. He was honored earlier in the year with a slack key Hoku award for his solo album "Maui on My Mind."
* Amy and Jeff play together from noon to 1 p.m., and then Jeff plays solo from 2 to 4 p.m. At the ranch store two other exceptional guitarists, Indio and Avi Ronen (who plays in the Lima Wela trio with Willie K and Joe Cano), perform from noon to 3 p.m. Lawn chairs OK, but no coolers.