Steel Trappings

Spotlight ON! Feature

Spotlight ON! Chuck Hughes

August 15, 2021 • Addison ChingEntertainment

This month we shine the Spotlight ON! Chuck Hughes.

Chuck has been a professional musician all his life. As the profit centers changed, he adapted to the flow, including stints as a music store guitar teacher, instrument salesman, top 40 6-nighter live local musician, casuals band, touring original music act, sync licensor, and streaming.

Chuck grew up in St Louis, Missouri, San Rafael, California, and Baltimore, Maryland. He recently located to Flagler Beach, Florida after residing in Colorado for many years.

Chuck first noticed and became interested in music at a young age. His mother would play a Top 40 station on her Bakelite radio as she did house chores. His father would take him to the neighborhood tavern a few blocks away where he would stand on the bar and sing the songs he heard.

Chuck describes how he became interested in the Hawaiian steel guitar.

"In 1969 in my freshman year at University of Maryland a guy in the dorm gave me a copy of Stars of the Steel Guitar vinyl record on Starday, and there were cuts by Jerry Byrd and Buddy Emmons on there on Hawaiian Steel, as well as cuts on pedal steel. In 1979 my brother moved to Kahului to pursue surfing, and invited me out in 1989. We went to several islands, and explored Waikīkī. I met Barney Isaacs at House Without A key, saw Alan Akaka, Casey Olson, and some other players."

He continues, "I'll never forget when we went to a hotel outdoor patio where a Hawaiian band was advertised. 15 minutes before showtime, there was no band and we were the only ones there. All of the sudden a van pulled up, and the band rolled a platform out of the back of the van down a ramp, with all the gear mounted to the platform. In two minutes they were plugged in and ready to play. I think the steel was tuned to C6. I remember one song where the steel player, rather than ending on the tonic chord open position or 12th fret, ended with a chord at the seventh fret, playing G6 over the band's C6. It sounded great. To this day I haven't figured out which steeler it was."

When asked who his favorite steel guitar players are, he replied, "I like all the players before 1930, as well as Jules Ah See, Billy Hew Len, Rudy Wairata, Noel Boggs, Alvino Rey. And that's not even counting all the great living players!"

In addition to playing the electric 6-string and steel guitars, Chuck also plays an instrument called the Chapman Stick. He purchased the 82nd Chapman Stick in 1976 and holed up in a cabin to woodshed on it all day long for 6 months.

When he's not playing music, Chuck studies music production software in online courses, updates websites, answers inquiries for [Hillbilly Hellcat] show availability, submits music to literally hundreds of online music libraries for use in TV shows, practices learning pedal steel, and reads up on music business trends and opportunities.

And, if any time remains, Chuck laments, "I am fortunate to live right on the beach now and will go there on nice days."

This video of one of Chuck's practice sessions was also included in the March, 2021 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Open Stage Showcase that was livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube.

The video can also be seen on YouTube.

This feature is a snapshot of the complete tribute that is posted on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase website. See the complete tribute here.

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Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival    POSTPONED
August 28, 2021 – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī
Saturday Performances 11AM - 2PM and 4:30PM - 6:30PM HST


Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Kanikapila
September 18, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Open Stage Showcase
September 25, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association - HSGA

HSGA  2nd Virtual Steel Guitar Festival
October 8-9, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on HSGA Website, Facebook and YouTube

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Kanikapila
October 16, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday - LIVE from Kaua‘i
October 30, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday - LIVE from Maui
November 20, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday
December 18, 2021 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST (tentative)

COVID-19 Advisory: HIMELE™ plans to resume in-person live steel guitar festivals in 2022, contingent on pandemic directives and venue approvals. Livestream Showcases will continue through 2021.

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About HIMELE
HIMELE is a Hawai‘i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.