BillyRadd Music

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kon Tiki Retro Bop

As we lumbered down the stairway to the level ground below the Wedge Brewing Company in the River Arts District of Asheville, I began to hear a familiar lilting tune, and one that brought back many happy memories from my idylic youth:  Quiet Village by Martin Denny.  My wife, Anita, myself and our friend, songsmith Neil Laurence were about to sample the mellifluous delights from the group called Kon Tiki, a local quartet  made up of Lin Llewellyn, songbird on uke, Lora Pendleton on string bass, singing, monkey and birdcalls, Russ Wilson handling percussion, tenor guitar and singing, and, the Man of a Thousand Songs, Hank Bones on guitar, steel guitar, cornet, marimba, and crooning.

The weather in Asheville has been unusually hot and humid for this time of year but Kon Tiki's happy melodies washed over the sweating but appreciative audience like a cool, offshore breeze. Seemingly unaffected by all the heat, the smiling members of Kon Tiki meted out lighthearted tune after sunny song that would make anyone "forget your troubles, c'mom get happy".

Fun.  That's the best way to describe the experience of their toe-tapping play list of old favs and original lighthearted material.  One Meatball, Sweet Leilani, On a Coconut Island, South Sea Island Magic, and Rum and Coke are just a few of the classic tunes in Kon Tiki's exotic bag of musical tricks.  Just like their myspace page says, it's like an evening on the Beach at Waikiki.

With influences like Martin Denny, Harry Owens, Ray Kinny, Johnny Pineapple, Sal Hoopli, King Benny Nawahi, the Andrews Sisters, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, and Hoagy Carmichael, what's not to like?

I've heard that Kon Tiki performs live at Wedge Brewing Company every Wednesday evening and, with no cover charge, just great homegrown Asheville beer, the very live entrainment provided is certainly a musical bargain.

But, you might want to feed Tiki head on the floor in front of the band with some well-deserved cash offerings from time to time to show your appreciation AND keep the Tiki head's curse off of you.

Go, and see Kon Tiki for yourself, if you know what's good for you, that is.


  1. Billy. I hate this!!!

    It's is just too damn short!!! I was just getting a good smile going and its over. I really good listen to a whole lot more of that, especially sitting in the sunshine and tossing back a craft made beer, oh yeah. Good stuff and thanks for sharing

  2. Hey, Michael. Yeah, I agree. When I posted this one I did not have permission from Kon Tiki, let alone Hank Bones, who I think wrote that piece, to publish it online. As it turns out, I did connect with the band through a mutual friend who said the uke player, Lin, said I could publish anything online concerning their band. Since I'm new to the music scene herein Asheville (and there is quite a vibrant one), I'm treading lightly with reviewing acts and using their material as videos online without their permission. But, I do surely agree that their music is a hoot. We'll see what I can get away with in the future, eh?