Monday, June 13, 2016

Over the Waterfall: John Cruz and "Hi'ilawe"

Today's song is from the islands. Hi'ilawe is performed by John Cruz, a singer-songwriter from Oahu, Hawaii. While he was born into a musical family (his mother loved Motown, his father played country, and his brother Ernie was a member of the musical group Ka'au Crater Boys), John didn't really develop his style until he lived on the East Coast while attending college, and acting in plays. He returned to Hawaii in 1995 to help his brother record an album, and in stage appearances he was invited to sing and play his own compositions which gained him a following even before he released an album. His first album was one of Hawaii's most successful. In his musical career, he was part of a compilation album that won the first ever Grammy Award for Hawaiian music, and his song Island Style has become known worldwide. He counts among his friends and fans Jack Johnson, Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder, Jimmy Buffett, Lisa Loeb, and Trey Anastasio, and he is the subject of a 2006 documentary on his life. You can find Hi'ilawe on his 2007 CD One of These Days. The song references a well-known waterfall.