The Asylum Street Spankers have retired, the late, great Tiny Tim has had archive material released in the last two years and Eddie Vedder just released an album of songs played on a ukulele. Could there be a better time for the Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra to make their move? Although there is a Duke in the group (frontman David King) and there are actual ukuleles and an orchestra involved, the wildly eclectic group is not from Hawaii.
The Duke of Uke, in fact, hails from that most exotic Midwestern locale, Champaign, Ill.
Outside of the name and their primary instrument, the Duke of Uke has little in common with the music coming from the Aloha state. Much like the aforementioned Spankers and the newly resurrected Squirrel Nut Zippers, the septet (two guys, five gals) finds musical inspiration in every imaginable genre. In the course of an evening, you’ll hear airy wisps of ’60s Pop sweetness, Tin Pan Alley ham, Blues swagger, Jazz and Ragtime swing, Gospel reverence, Motown Soul and Classical precision, played with technical precision and jammy abandon.
The Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra play at MOTR Pub Wednesday. Go here to read Brian Baker's full Sound Advice.