Long before any of the boys picked up an instrument, Bending Elbows became a band in an outrigger canoe, when their rhythmic bonds were forged in twenty-foot seas, in blistering heat, and in the pounding Hilo rain. After years of paddling together—the Moloka‘i Hoe, the Lili‘oukalani, the HCRA State Championships, not to mention the thrice-weekly grind of grueling practices—somebody decided to learn the upright bass. Somebody else wiped a decade’s worth of dust off his guitar. A uke was unearthed from another guy’s closet. And when Waylon Jenningscame blasting out of Pandora during a break at one of their suddenly-weekly backyard jam sessions, the path was set.
Armed with the blending techniques embedded in them by years of canoe paddling, Bending Elbows (cowboy slang for “beer drinking”) worked to hone the thumping authentic string-band sound that Hawaiian music legend Willie K, on one of the occasions they were lucky enough to open for him, branded “Raw Country.”
You can follow their incredible ride on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and at www.bendingelbows.band. Or better yet: catch them live here at Hula Hulas. From Merle to Johnny, from Hank Jr. to the Marshall Tucker Band, along with their own originals and a few surprises along the way, this crew puts its own foot-stomping high-energy stamp on whatever they decide to belt out in full-throated harmony.
Date: Saturday, May 2019
Address: 93 Banyan Drive, Hilo HI 96270