Some star power, solemn reflection, and a little cheese are on the menu for this New Year’s edition of Ukulele Holiday Spirit 2021. This time we features performances by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, kazookeylele master Pockets, Abigail Flowers on baritone uke, and Allison Russell of Birds of Chicago.
Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”
Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt show off their undeniable chemistry in this video that’s now (checks calendar…) ten years old (where did the time go!?). It’s not a perfect performance, and the A/V quality of most YouTube videos has come a long way since this was recorded, but it’s still charming as can be and makes us want to get all dressed up for New Year’s Eve to go out… into the living room and watch the ball drop on TV (thanks, Covid).
Pockets Uke, Kazookeylele Version of “The Final Countdown”
When you’re counting down the last seconds to midnight on New Year’s Eve, you might hear the epic song “The Final Countdown” in your head. Well, we do, at least. And there’s never been a more epic ukulele-centric version (that we could find on YouTube) than this one from YouTuber and musician Pockets. Playing on his handmade kazookeylele, he also shreds some electric ukulele solos and throws in some hair-metal vocal harmonies. It’s a little cheesy, but in the best way possible. Oh, and did we mention that it’s epic? Cuz it is.
Abigail Flowers, “Auld Lang Syne”
There a million (at least) covers of this song. But this beautiful, sparse rendition of the traditional New Year’s tune “Auld Land Syne” by musician Abigail Flowers feels right. It captures the combined feelings of reflection and potential unique to the moment when the new year begins. We’re not sure how many musicians specialize in jazz baritone ukulele, but it’s not likely that many also have a voice as lovely as this. Plus, the baritone uke really sounds lovely when it’s given space for each individual note to breathe, as Flowers does here.
Allison Russell, “This Will Be Our Year”
This Ukulele Sessions video filmed in 2015 feels appropriate for the calendar change to 2022. Allison Russell of Birds of Chicago performs her arrangement for solo ukulele and voice of the Zombies’ 1968 classic “This Will Be Our Year.” Her voice is exquisite, strumming deep in the pocket, performance dynamic, and that whistle just really ties it all together. As Russell sings in the video, here’s hoping: “This will be our year, took a long time to come.” Happy New Year!