8 Questions with Aaron the Uke Slayer
Aaron The Uke Slinger is the stage name of Pittsburgh-area Singer/Songwriter/Ukelele player Aaron Jones. He’s currently in the middle of writing a new record while maintaining a balance of music & family life. I sat down with Aaron for a one on one interview about him, his music, and his ukuleles.
1. Describe your background in music
For me things really started in 2008. I bought my first ukulele and had writing lyrics before that. The ukulele was just a natural fit and I learned more music theory and discovered the 12 bar blues form and began a writing spree. I eventually hit an open mic locally and from there “Aaron The Uke Slinger” was born. As a kid I fiddled around with guitar and later played bass before I developed a stress disorder during my first marriage and ended up selling all my musical equipment in the early 2000’s. This project has literally been a rebirth.
As far as performing goes. I mainly play in the Pittsburgh area where I live. I do manage to make some trips to Ohio during the year and I used to go down to Tennessee and perform in Nashville and I’ve played a songwriter’s festival in Gatlinburg. Life has taken some turns recently not allowing me to take as many road trips. But 2016 will probably hold some better opportunities.
2. Who are your main musical influences?
Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Social Distortion, LeadBelly, Rancid and there’s many other that influence my lyrical and playing style. But those are basically favorite artists that I listen to on a regular basis. Lately Chicago and Steely Dan have been growing on me.
3. Describe your creative process when it comes to writing songs?
I spend time working as a medical courier so I over hear alot of conversations. Other wise I draft a list of titles and usually work from there when I write by myself. I also write with another songwriter, Melissa VanCoevering. We’ve written a few songs together that we’re developing and she brings something to the table that I’m loving.
4. Tell me the story behind your song “Long Way Home”.
The story behind “Long Way Home” This one was written while I was a security officer at a steel mill. I used to also weigh the trucks in and out when the picked up/delivered. Guys would weigh in. Drive down into the plant, typically had to unload what they brought in and pick up new steel to take to another plant. They had to come and get their bills signed while weighing and I’d see them calling their dispatchers or sometimes the spouses. That’s basically where that song came from. A couple of years later I was driving a tractor trailer myself. That didn’t last long. But later on I saw that life for myself.
5. What makes a Uke Slinger different than a Guitar Slinger or a Piano Slinger?
As far as Aaron The Uke Slinger goes. Being that guy has set me apart from other people. You don’t see it much. There’s some great uke players out there that tour regionally. Some offering workshops and musical history classes. But they aren’t in the mainstream of music and so typically ukulele players and fans know who they are. As far as being and indie/DIY singer-songwriter goes. I offer something different than guitar and keyboard focused artists do. People remember it. Both for the good and bad lol.
6. What is your favorite brand of Ukulele to play?
I play a Cordoba Tenor acoustic electric. I’ve been playing it four about 4 years now. It’s been pretty dependable so I’d say it’s definitely a favorite. Some people have told me they’ve had issues with their products but I just don’t see it in mine. I have a Recording King Banjo Uke I use as well. It does record nicely.
7. What’s coming down the pike for Aaron The Uke Slinger?
Right now I want to keep playing with the artists that have become good friends of mine. I do hope to play a show or two more outside of PA this year if I can. Balancing make an income to support a family and pay for a house while also living out the dream of music can be difficult. I am writing for a new record. Definitely not rushing it though. Things will come when they are ready.
8. Where is the best place to connect with you and your music online?
The best place to connect to what I’ve got going on is. www.aarontheukeslinger.wix.com/music. You can stream on Spotify, download from Itunes if you wish. www.aarontheukeslinger.bandcamp.com if you wish to download more directly. I’m on Twitter and Facebook as well.
About the Author:
Spencer Joyce is an Indie Rock Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist who records & performs both solo and with his backing group, The Record Machine, under the Alchemical Records banner. You can check him out at www.spencerjoycemusic.com