Music has been part of Christmas in Hawaii for as long as Christmas has been celebrated here. A Backporch Slack & Steel Christmas is by steel guitarist Ken Emerson who first surfaced as a Hawaii recording artist in the late 1970s when he and his brother, Phil, won a place on Ron Jacobs Homegrown III album in 1978, recorded a full length album in 1979 and backed Moe Keale on his 1980 album, South Sea Island Magic. More than 30 years later he is known as a multifaceted musician who plays acoustic steel guitar as well as ukulele and slack key guitar.
On this album he uses several vintage instruments. Their sound gives familiar songs an old-time feel that brings to mind an era when kerosene lamps rather than electric lights illuminated many island homes. From the first bars of Mele Kalikimaka to the last notes of The Little Drummer Boy, Emerson captures the spirit of the season in unique-to-Hawaii style.