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Whisperin & Hollerin
author: Walter Sims

'John Keawe'
'Hawaii Island...Is My Home'

- Label: 'Homestead Productions'
- Genre: 'Folk' - Release Date: '2008'- Catalogue No: 'HPCD 1009'

Our Rating:
The tranquil beauty and incandescent slack-key guitar of John Keawe ( is a triumph of both mood and skill. Keawe's fingerstyle playing weaves layers of cinematic imagery and heartfelt emotion on "Hawaii Island...Is My Home," a collection of what may initially seem like pastoral postcards but actually cuts deeper.

Combining instrumentals and vocal pieces, Keawe leaves us in awe of his craftsmanship but also his songwriting and singing abilities as well. On the title track, Keawe recalls the bittersweet warmth of Gordon Lightfoot, his honeyed voice smitten with the prettiness of the world around him. However, there is a spiritual context as well as Keawe gives credit to God for creating such a masterpiece of land. It's as if Keawe is trying to make us realize that the environment itself is a work of art, a living work of art in fact, and should be appreciated and cared for on a daily basis.

"Faces of Pele" will literally leave you in a trance as Keawe's guitar strings take on dreamy, mouth-wateringly soothing textures. "Safe Passage" is equally hypnotic, a rush of calming melodies. "Pahinui" produces the same graceful flow of a waterfall; it is truly intoxicating.

Keawe does not sing often; however, when he does it's usually to convey a moving message, offering tributes to his father on "Across the Way" and a close friend, Wayne "Dobo" Francisco, on "Ku'u Hoaaloha."

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