Best Old Band - 2011
Whole Earth Nuclear Ukulele Orchestra
David Henry Spangler looks like a cooler, hipper version of Father Time. He's tall, bespectacled and adorned with flowing gray hair and a matching full-on beard. He may have looked young at one time, but something tells us that he was put on this Earth to be an elder statesman. It's a mantle he wears well in the Whole Earth Nuclear Ukulele Orchestra, in which he sings and plays his beloved ukulele alongside fellow old-timer Thom Pallozola. The past few years have been kind to the tiny ukulele — what was once a novelty instrument has fueled such younger bands as Beirut and artists as Dent May into the mainstream. The Whole Earth gang keeps the strumming simple and lets the instrument's soft, dulcet tone speak for itself. One gets the feeling that these guys were playing the uke long before it was cool. Chances are they'll be playing it well past the receding tide of hype.