Biography

“Del Rey, One of the Ukulele’s Most Important Players and Teachers” Ukulele Magazine 2016   Read the story…

“Rey is one of the greatest modern players of the metal-bodied resonator guitar.” Acoustic Guitar Magazine

“Del Rey is one of the most sublime modern guitarists. “ La Hora del Blues Barcelona

Del Rey at the Tucson Blues Festival
Del Rey at the Tucson Blues Festival

I started playing guitar when I was four. At the age of thirteen I was introduced to the world of traditional acoustic music, when a friend and I stumbled into a concert at Folk Arts Rare Records in San Diego. About 20 people were sitting on the floor under the record bins listening to a kid named Tom Waits play his original songs.

folkarts

Lou Curtiss, proprietor of Folk Arts and artistic director of the San Diego Folk Festival suggested I quit wasting my time playing “Stairway to Heaven” and listen to some Memphis Minnie. He put me on stage with Sam Chatmon when I was fourteen, and introduced me to Lydia Mendoza and Howard Armstrong. Lou gave me recordings that still influence everything I do on solo acoustic guitar. I soaked up country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie. It was a musical education hanging around the record shop. 

Thirty years later, I became fascinated with the ukulele. I try to play the same kind of complicated rhythmic blues and ragtime on four strings as on six. I expect a lot out of the little instrument.

 “The ‘ukulele taken to a new level of musicianship”.      (John Book)

“Virtuosic in just the right way, which is to say, in order to realize a musical idea. A very nice unlikely blend of things, accessible, slightly nostalgic, but fresh and thoughtful. ” (CD Baby review, “At The Ukeshack #1)

I play solo concerts world wide and also present a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women In American Music.  I also collaborate and tour frequently with Steve James, Suzy Thompson and Adam Franklin.

del rey and steve jamesplaying guitars
Troublesome urban hillbillies-with Steve James. Photo by Jenny Sampson

 

 

Del Rey and Suzy Thompson
Onstage at Centrum Blues and Heritage Festival with Suzy Thompson

 

 

 

Del & Adam Franklin
Del Rey and Adam Franklin at the Great Northern Ukefest 2014

 

I’ve contributed to projects in honor of The Mississippi Sheiks, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Johnny Cash. I occasionally write about music for various publications, including Acoustic Guitar.

My most recent release is just me, singing with uke and guitar; it’s called Solo. All albums available from Hobemian Records

  • Solo 2017
  • Rocket Red and Ruby Chard with Adam Franklin 2014
  • Art Walk 2014
  • Four and Six 2012
  • Hen Party with Suzy Thompson 2010
  • Blue Uke 2008
  • At The Ukeshack #1 with Matt Weiner 2007
  • When The Levee Breaks 2006
  • Tonight with Steve James 2004
  •  Why Say No? with The Yes Yes Boys 2002
  • Twins with Steve James 2002
  • X-Rey Guitar 2000
  • Hot Sauce1995
  • Boogie Mysterioso 1993
  • I recorded a 45rpm record in 2010, the proceeds of which benefit Transportation Choices Coalition. With Del Rey and the Blues Gators I recorded Chartruese (Hobemian 1991) and Cafe Society (Kicking Mule 1985). 

 

 

Guitar, Ukulele and a unique world-view…