JUSTIN LACY | Performance Video
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Cody and Tyler’s Luau Beach Wedding

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Sometimes my job consists of playing ukulele on the beach.
 
Sure, performing music is not the most lucrative career path, but come on: ukulele on a beach! Play enough beach uke and you’ll probably live to like 120.
 
In September, I had the great privilege of adding the sweet sonority of the ukulele to the beautiful wedding ceremony of Cody and Tyler on the beach at Fort Fisher, NC. The crowds were sparse, the vendors were great, the rain held off, and the wind was tame, although I did have to chase down the marriage certificate at full sprint when the wind blew it out of the officiate’s hands and down the beach after the ceremony.
 
The photo above is by Jess Stephenson Photography, who captured some magnificent sunset shots later at the reception.
 
The reception and ceremony were luau-themed, with the groomsmen dressed in printed Hawaiian shirts and straw fedoras. I was actually a surprise for the groom, Cody, who didn’t know his ceremony would feature an actual ukulele player until he set foot on the beach.
 
I played Richard Wagner’s wedding standard “The Bridal Chorus” for Tyler’s walk down the sandy aisle. Here it is performed on ukulele:
 

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Love is All You Need

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On August 16, I had the privilege of performing my own arrangement of The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” as Richelle Davis walked down the aisle on a quaint Pennsylvania farm to wed my good friend and former room- and bandmate, Adam Powell.
 
Throughout our trip, fellow groomsman Andrew Zucchino and I learned a lot about PA culture. We saw Amish riding horse-drawn buggies, and we ate at a buffet run by Mennonites (it’s important to distinguish that it was Mennonite-run, not Mennonite-cooked). Above, Andrew expresses his take on the PA life with an approximation of what a Pennsylvanian Mormon might look like serenading two brides-to-be.
 
All PA-religion jokes aside, it was a beautiful day for everyone involved, and I was thrilled and honored to participate as a groomsman and performer. Per Adam and Richelle’s request, I arranged this Lennon/McCarney song – though I gather it’s mostly Lennon’s – specifically for their ceremony, timing the verse out to accompany the wedding party, and the chorus to accompany the bride. I tried to anticipate Richelle’s arrival by placing an appropriate Wagner quote in the pre-chorus. See if you can catch it:
 
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Moon River

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In March, I met Adam and Austin of Blueberry Creative in their studio, located in an old downtown Wilmington building once owned by Dennis Hopper, to film my fingerstyle arrangement of “Moon River” (check it out below).  We got it done in two takes, but not before Austin doused me in a heap of streaming gold confetti so Adam could shoot the above photograph — part of a series of portraits shot on film in which Adam limits himself to just one snap of the shutter.
 
The first time I ever heard “Moon River,” singer/songwriter Sean Thomas Gerard of Onward, Soldiers was performing it on a Monday night at the Duck and Dive, a British sports pub with a clientele far too concerned with Monday Night Football to care much for delicate Henry Mancini melodies.   I was supposed to be accompanying Sean on lead guitar, but I quickly gave up navigating the chord changes to let him sing it on his own, using Johnny Mercer’s lyrics to paint an Americana landscape centered around a “wider-than-a-mile” moonlit river bend. Huck Finn was there too:
 
        Two drifters, off to see the world
        There’s such a lot of world to see
        We’re after the same rainbow’s end,
        Waiting, round the bend
        My Huckleberry Friend, Moon River, and me
 
While arranging “Moon River,” I tried to recreate Mercer’s magical air by employing plenty of open-string unisons and a bell-like ending full of artificial harmonics. In the video below, there are no effects on the audio – just some good ole, all natural Dennis-Hopper-Building reverb.

 

Thanks, Mr. Sean, for introducing me to one of my favorite songs, and thanks for shooting it, Adam and Austin. You guys always paint a pretty picture.
 
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