Santa Barbara’s ukulele Jim stays true to his name in his album, Fretting the Small Stuff. Catchy, sweet, and charming, Fretting the Small Stuff is James Clark’s third full album that conveys a sense of wisdom and wonder with the ukulele. In a sense, listening to Ukulele Jim is like falling in and out of love in Hawaii.
In “Hearts in Harmony,” Ukulele Jim sings, “Loving you shouldn’t be so hard to do; take it easy on me.” The whimsical concern for love and the way it is presented is much like Penny and the Quarters meets the Beach Boys, whereas his more blues-y song, “Mountain River Blues” parallels Johnny Cash’s “Big River.” Fretting the Small Stuff is a dynamic album, illustrating raw emotion and presenting it in a light-hearted, easy-listening fashion. A deep, romantic undertone is suggested throughout the entire album, but the playful ukelele pop creates a musical juxtaposition that keeps listeners from feeling burdened.
Ukulele Jim records from his home studio in Santa Barbara, California, an easy-going beach town. Using the internet as a tool, James Clark is able to work with various different musicians from all over the globe. In songs such as “That’s What I Was,” and “The World Still Turns” employs the piano, for instance, creating a very multi-dimensional, multi-member band sound. The ability to collaborate with others enhances the album and allows James to have an eclectic, wholesome album.
The Band Lounge Skinny: Check Ukulele Jim’s website out for listening made easy.