Don’t like my music? Folk Uke… and the horse you rode in on, buddy!

I trust those of you who didn’t have to work enjoyed the long Labor Day weekend. And maybe some of you who did go to work also enjoyed Labor Day. My husband Bill and I usually plan a little trip for long weekends, especially Labor Day weekend. We didn’t this year, because we just got moved in and things are just getting settled down and routine. Because we didn’t go away, we invited my husband’s mother, Parker, over for a sleepover.

Parker is a great mother-in-law. We get along really well. Her visits usually involve copious amounts of wine and song. I plugged in my iPod so we’d have some music at dinner and suddenly I heard the familiar strains of an acoustic guitar and a ukelele.

“Oh, it’s Folk Uke!” I exclaimed.

“What’s that?” Parker asked.

“Amy Nelson, Willie Nelson’s daughter, and Cathy Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie’s daughter, have teamed up to make very irreverent music for people like you and me.” I said.

From there, Bill started telling his mother about some of Folk Uke’s more memorable songs. There’s “Shit Makes The Flowers Grow”, a hilarious ditty about how even things or people who are seemingly worthless have some good in them. “Knock Me Up” is a simple plea for for pregnancy. “I Miss My Boyfriend” is a startling song featuring Shooter Jennings, son of Waylon. In that song, the two sweet voiced ladies sing of missing their boyfriend and hoping a new male acquaintance will beat them up.

Now, lest anyone be offended by these songs, I will freely admit that they cover some controversial material. Maybe we shouldn’t joke about domestic abuse with songs like “I Miss My Boyfriend”. The more twisted side of my personality then shuts down my reservations with the realization that most of these songs are pretty damn funny regardless of their potential to offend. Of course, part of the reason they work is that when Amy and Cathy sing sweet harmonies, somehow you know that their songs are intended to be taken very much tongue-in-cheek.

Folk Uke sings “I Miss My Boyfriend” live. Shooter Jennings isn’t around to do his part, so Amy fills in.

How would I describe this music? Well, it’s definitely folk… and a little country… and a little alternative… and very acoustic. Actually, when Amy Nelson plays guitar, I am really reminded of her father. She seems to have inherited some of his technique.

I found Folk Uke right after I discovered Willie Nelson’s “children’s album”, Rainbow Connection. Amy Nelson helped her dad out on that project with a couple of songs. I love the way Willie Nelson sings “Rainbow Connection”, though he seemed to have lost interest in the “children’s album” aspect of his recording about halfway through the project and included a couple of songs that seem out of place on a recording for kids. Anyway, I liked Amy Nelson’s voice enough to see what else she’d done. That’s when I found her on YouTube, singing sweetly with Cathy Guthrie, the daughter of another musical legend, and a fine musician in her own right.

Amy and Cathy sing “Knock Me Up”. Sadly, I actually know a few women who should adopt this song as their theme song.

When I heard them singing “Shit Makes The Flowers Grow”, I knew I had to buy their 2005 self-titled album. And then I automatically bought their 2011 follow up, Reincarnation, which features the very clever song “Blessed and Cursed”. This is one you can sing along to.

Folk Uke sings “Blessed and Cursed”.

Reincarnation sounds like Folk Uke is coming up in the world. The production quality is better. Or maybe I have just become a fan of their warped senses of humor. Their music is a winning combination of delicate melodies, feminine vocals, and shocking lyrics. That’s perfect for someone like me.

Remember kids, “Shit Makes The Flowers Grow”… Looks like Amy’s dad Willie joined in on this one. I think he likes this song.

My one criticism about this duo is that their songs often sound very much alike. The lyrics are unfailingly witty, but the melodies lack variation. On the other hand, when Folk Uke pops up on my iPod, I almost never skip to another track. So that tells me I like ’em anyway, even if some of their songs sound like they could use a few more chords. In any case, I’m glad I started today off with a little Folk Uke. Guess I’ll ride off now and do some housework.