Less Than 1,000 Follower: Winchester 7 & the Runners – “Uke Rock”

The ukulele or “Uke” for short, is an instrument that looks similar to a miniature guitar. You might have noticed in your local guitar shops lately, that they are all tending to keep some kind of an inventory for them. People speak about a “revival” of sorts regarding the instrument. I question the sense of “revival,” though. I’ve bought my fair share of ukuleles as well in recent history, a friend of mine, a local Portland artist by the name of Thumpergraph, turned me on to them by demonstrating how you could play just about anything on one. He showed me the infamous viral video of “While My Uke Gently Weeps” by Jake Shmabukuro. I was a bit stunned. I had no idea that the Uke could be such a versatile instrument. And that in part is why I question the sense of “revival,” so to speak. Prior to my edification about the instrument, I only thought of it as the thing a guy in a Hawaiian shirt would strum while the girls danced at a Luau. That to me was a pretty specific, so as I watch people incorporate new ways of playing an Uke, it’s not so much a revival in my mind as it is an evolution. Case and point, today’s artist the Winchester 7 & the Runners. Like the epiphanies I apperceived before, when I listened to the band’s new EP “Heart of the Golden Mystics” (streaming everywhere December 22nd); I had to do an audible “double take,” once I found out it is indeed a “Uke” centered in the rhythm section and electrified, producing their eclectic Classic Rock meets New Wave sound.