Howlin’ Hobbit – Thank You

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(Please forgive my indulgence in this second farewell post – see the previous post for details.)

When I think of the ukulele, the first image that pops into my mind is of Howlin’ Hobbit.  Diminutive yet imposing, gentle but with a snarky bite, capable of the smoothest tones and the fiercest growls – these words could just as easily describe Howlin’ as the uke.  As much as I love his performances, it was his name in my comment box that always made my day.  Witty and charming, but with a short fuse for things that don’t ring true or real or right, Howlin’ contributed some of the best words on these pages.

While on a recent trip to Denver I went out for dinner at the Bubba Gump Shrimp House.  The food was edible and the prices reasonable, but the overall experience was nauseating.  Here we were, in a major city in the middle of one of the most naturally beautiful areas in North America, where only a few generations ago our forefathers crossed the wilderness at great risk in pursuit of gold and glory and anything else the Indians hadn’t thought to nail down, eating frozen seafood in a new building that was artificially distressed for authenticity and filled with imitation artifacts from a marginally amusing big budget motion picture. It made me wonder if we are nearing a point where there are no real experiences anymore – where every nook of the world has been homogenized and Disneyfied for our guaranteed satisfaction.

As an inoculation to protect you from my (hopefully) imagined dystopia, I offer one of my favorite ukulele videos: Mr. Hobbit caught busking in the wild.  On you or me, wearing a fez and playing the uke might make us ridiculous posers – on Hobbit it’s who he is.  There are better produced ukulele videos.  Heck, there might even be better performances of this song.  But it’s the thought that I might turn the corner some day and unexpectedly encounter someone this authentic playing his heart out for your pocket change that keeps my hope alive.

Thank you, Howlin’ Hobbit…keep on strumming!

YouTube Channel: HowlinHobbit

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  1. Howlin' Hobbit July 12th, 2011 11:25 am

    no, thank you, Donnie! you’ve often made me feel like a rock star and who doesn’t like to feel like a rock star?

    I’m going to miss uketoob. if I was you, I wouldn’t flush it completely. you’ve put an awful lot of work into it and it should be archived somehow.

    I was thinking about this yesterday and my advice (free, so take it for what you paid for it) is to move it to (free hosting, right?), put a last post up about how this is for archive purposes, turn off all commenting (so you don’t have to waste time dealing with that) and let it ride.

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