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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2022 Festivals and Workshops
2022 HSGA Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
August 11-13, 2022 – Foster City, CA
Tickets available online or at the door

2022 Northern California Hawaiian Steel Guitar Symposium
August 14, 2022 – Cupertino, CA
Tuition from $100
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Keiki Kine at Kahala Mall
August 27, 2022 – Kahala Mall, Honolulu, Hawai‘i
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Maui Steel Guitar Festival
October 15, 2022 – The Shops at Wailea, Wailea, Maui, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST
October 16, 2022 – Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Kahului, Maui, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST

Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani
December 8-11, 2022 – Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Kamuela, Hawai‘i Island

2022 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Livestream Broadcasts
Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Keiki Kine at Kahala Mall

August 27, 2022 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Livestream Open Stage Showcase

September 25, 2022 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani

December 10, 2022 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM HST
December 11, 2022 Saturday Twilight at Kalāhuipua‘a concert – 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM HST

2023 Festivals and Workshops
Kona Steel Guitar Festival   
March 24-25, 2023 – Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, Keauhou, Hawai‘i

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week   
July 10-15, 2023 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival   
July 14, 2023 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival   
July 15, 2023 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

2023 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Livestream Broadcasts
Facebook LiveYouTube
Kona Steel Guitar Festival

March 25, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 12:00 Noon - 3 PM and 5 PM - 8 PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival

July 14, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert (tentative) – 4PM - 6:30PM HST


Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival

July 15, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert (tentative) – 11AM - 2PM and 4:30PM - 6:30PM HST

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