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Just Published! Ukulele for Teens 

Look what's finally arrived!

This book has been many years in the making and will make its debut at the Winter NAMM Show 2024!


It was an interesting adventure co-writing this book with Chad Johnson: Author/Musician. Special thanks to the whole artistic and editorial team at Hal Leonard for giving our book that extra polish and shine. Officially published and available December 20, 2023. ❤

My sincere hope is that this book makes ukulele more accessible to young folks, and more kids find the joy of playing an instrument that has brought so much joy to me.

Big thanks to all of my ukulele students - they're the reason this book exists in the first place. Thanks to Chad for being a great co-pilot; I got to do a lot of the fun stuff for this - singing, playing ukulele for the videos; he did much of the grunt work!

From the intro:

Welcome to Ukulele for Teens ! Why a book just for teens? With the ukulele's rise in popularity, there have been a lot of great teaching resources but nothing specifically geared toward the adolescent player. With that in mind, Ukulele for Teens presents the fundamentals of playing the instrument but incorporates songs by some of the most popular artists in music today, presented and arranged in singable keys for the teenage performer. To help you succeed, we've also included audio demos of the exercises and songs in addition to video lessons of author Alli Johnson showing you chords, strumming techniques, and more! Songs include: All Is Found (Kasey Musgraves) * Brave (Sara Bareilles) * Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) * I'm Yours (Jason Mraz) * Love Story (Taylor Swift) * The Only Exception (Paramore) * You and I (Ingrid Michaelson) * and more!
Interested in ordering your copy?  It's at your local booksellers, especially music retailers and also on Amazon here

Updates from your local folk singer... 

Hi all - 

It's been a new season of music for me.  After a really special year with Celtic Milwaukee, I've resigned as Choir Director for the Milwaukee Irish Fest Choir and am no longer teaching lessons at the center. My time with Celtic Milwaukee was wonderful; a more talented and kind bunch I've yet to meet; but for a while now, I've needed to restructure my time and priorities, and that meant delving more fully into my career and making a more clear distinction between my musical pursuits and my work life.  

For many years, I've been a real yes girl.  Yes, I'll teach those lessons, yes I'll sing that song, yes I'll make room in my schedule for that show.  And I haven't regretted even one of those yesses.  But I find myself at a new place in my life where I need to protect my time and really focus on my current projects.  

At times I think the year was a bit slow for me - just a handful of shows, directing the choir, a few students to teach; and then I remember that I also released my first solo album this year and I have my ukulele book Ukulele for Teens releasing in time for the Winter NAMM show, and I remember my definition of “slow” is totally out of whack.  The Selkie Girls had our final show at ScotFest Tulsa - I'd love to tell you that I remained stoic and tear free, but in truth, the audience had to help me sing that last song.  I love these folks like family; and when good things end, there's a deep grief.  


So this is me getting more focused, saying no to a few things, and attempting to put my life and career in proper perspective with my priorities of mother, wife, artist, human being that eats, sleeps, and rests, and all the other things.

Maybe next year I'll learn to finally crochet more than a wash cloth and a scarf (both rectangles!)  Maybe I'll learn to make my own soap or use a pottery wheel.  I'm leaving some room in my life for the unknown.

Now for the knowns!

Please join my band for a couple of really fun shows - first up is November 17 (next week!) at North 48 in Oconomowoc - an adorable little pub down in Lake Country - excellent cocktails and atmosphere, and The Stirling Latelys to serenade you with folk songs and reimagined covers.  We do a few originals too so hope to see you there!  

Ukulele for Teens will debut within the next couple of months; I'm excited to share this work, as I firmly believe ukulele is a fantastic instrument accessible to so many; it's truly a joy to share these songs and techniques, so be on the lookout for that!  

And then we'll probably have another show or two with The Selkie Girls down in Texas as a final farewell this spring, keep checking my site for updates on that. 

This summer, Jaycie, Chad, and I will join an all-star group of Celtic and Folk musicians for the Celtic on the Carribean Cruise - there's still room if you're interested.  All the information is here:

Caribbean Cruise

The album is doing well, I'm still steadily selling copies and getting more play on various streaming platforms and podcasts.  Thanks to you all for your continued support and encouragement.  I'm looking forward to the adventures ahead!

Album Release Date Updated to March 6! 

**Album Announcement**
First of all, HUGE thanks to all of you who have ordered your copy of my new album, Into the Hollows! Seriously - thank you! I'm so pleased by the support.
Now for the slightly not so great news - I need to postpone the official release to Monday March 6th - we had a technical glitch that will be resolved by then - so you will received your digital album codes MONDAY rather than tomorrow, but it'll be worth the wait!

Album Release! Into the Hollows March 3, 2023 

After three years of work, I'm finally releasing my very first solo album: Into the Hollows.  It is now available for pre-order - if you order the physical CD, you will also receive a copy of the digital album as well.  I'll be shipping these out as soon as they arrive (March 3 or thereabouts).

I had some amazing friends guest on this including Dave Ervin, Chris Buckley, Jaycie Skidmore, Cara Wildman, Kathryn Powell, Amanda Carlson, Matthew Cook, Scooter Muse, Martin McCall, Wolf Loescher, and Chad Johnson (my husband) who played some guitar and also did the final mixes and mastering of the album.  

I am immensely proud of the work we all did on this album and so honored to share it with all of you.  All of these are songs that spoke to me and tell a compelling story.  My hope is that you enjoy listening to this music as much as we enjoyed making it.  And thank you in advance for your support!  I have the best group of friends and fans anyone could ask for.  


To pre-order - click the image below!

Ringing in 2023 - Several announcements and exciting news 

Merry Twixmas!  

Just learned a new term and that is Twixmas - the days between Christmas and New Years.  During these days, we take some time to relax, enjoy family time, or if you're me, quarantine with the flu away from family!

In between doses of Theraflu, that magical elixer, I've been gathering in all of my exciting news to share with all of you.  I've got several fun things to share with you all.  

First of all - The Selkie Girls will be back at NTIF this year March 3-5, Fair Park in Dallas, TX.  It was one of the first festivals we ever played and we are excited to be back again this year in our hometown. We may be adding some additional dates, so watch this space and also watch for additional dates this year.

Speaking of The Selkie Girls, we are heading to Ireland April 2024 and you're all invited. All the details are at


And next Summer, Jaycie Skidmore and I will be cruising the Carribbean, and guess what?  YOU are invited along to that as well!  Details for cruise here:


Important point on this one - make sure you if you sign up, you let them know Jaycie and I brought you there!  There's lots of Celtic acts coming on the tour, and we want to make sure they know we were part of the reason you signed up.  I can't wait for both of these awesome trips and the opportunity to hang with all of our friends and fans.  Y'all are the best.


New, New, New New New 

Happy New Year, y'all!  2022 is just a breath away, and I don't know about you, but I am MORE than ready for what this next year promises to bring.  I've got lots of news to announce and also some to tease.  

First the announcements:  

The Selkie Girls

Check out my SHOWS page to see as I add new dates.  The Selkie Girls are going back on tour this spring down south (yay!)  We've got several dates booked and are continuing to add more each week.  If you've missed The Selkie Girls, meet me in Texas and I promise you'll get a chance to see us - whether it's at North Texas Irish Festival (NTIF) or Sherman Celtic Festival, or if a more intimate, artistic show is your jam, we've got some of those including at Mesquite Arts Center.  Keep watching the Shows tab for updates.  I've missed my band like crazy, and we are determined to make this a very special spring.

Alli Johnson Music Studio

My studio continues to grow and thrive.  I have literally the best students and am so honored to be the teacher to each and every one of them.  I'm currently teaching Scottish and Irish songs, general voice, guitar, and ukulele.  Thanks to all who have supported my studio and chosen me as their instructor.  Keep me in mind if you're in the market for a music teacher, or know someone who is - I'm still accepting new students. Check out my LESSONS tab for more info.  

Songs for the TIMES

Along with my very good friend, Matthew Cook and for our beloved Traditional Irish Music Education Society, I will be hosting a series of workshops with some of the best Irish, Scottish, and Celtic Folk singers in the world.  Visit the TIMES site for more info on these quarterly workshops - all totally free and available to anyone with an internet connection.  It's not every day you get to chat and ask these folks questions about their music and process.  Full schedule announced soon.  

And finally, a bit of a tease.  

For the last two years, I've worked with Dave Ervin, lead guitarist for The Selkie Girls, on an ambitious musical project, originally under The Known World Project.  That initial group of songs became something more, and especially after we moved here to Wisconsin, it became clear that the next step in my personal musical career was to release my first solo album.  Solo is quite the relative term, as I've had the pleasure to work with some of my favorite folks on this, from Dave on guitar, Scooter Muse on banjo, fiddlers Chris Buckley and Kathryn Powell, Cara Wildman on bodhran, Martin McCall on drums, Chad Johnson on guitar, Jaycie Skidmore on vocals and flutes, and even Amanda Carlson on vocals up here in Wisconsin.  And now, another wonderful musician, Wolf Loescher, is working on some drum tracks for the final couple of songs.  At heart, I'm a collaborator, so being able to work with all of these talented individuals has been such a treat for me.  I really cannot wait to share this collection of songs with you all, and my goal is to have the final album released in late spring.  So I'll give you two little goodies till then.

First - the name of the album.  Into the Hollows.  

Second, a little lyric video I made of one of the tracks.  This one's Annabel Lee - based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem.  If you know me, I love haunting imagery, tragic love, and tragedy in general.  

As Tom Waits said, "I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things." 

Hope you enjoy the video and song.  


New Video! Hill of the Thieves - Irish Folk Cover! 

Cara Dillon is one of my favorite contemporary folk singers. I decided to cover her song, Hill of the Thieves, as part of my evolving solo project. 

This song was recorded over the past year with Dave Ervin, one of my favorite people to make music with. We asked our friend, Chris Buckley, great fiddle and viola player of The Here & Now to work with us on this. 

We threw him the task of creating an original reel in the instrumental sections of the song. And in an impossible key. And he was of course up to the task. 

I love this song because for me, it's all about reconnecting with your roots, honoring your history and the journey and sacrifice of those who came before, embracing both the dark and the light, and emerging stronger for it. I created this video as a love letter to both the song and to the gorgeous landscape of Ireland. 

Hope you enjoy!


New Shows Added 

St. Paddy's and Festival season looks a little different this year.  But as it can, the show does go on.  We recorded a very cool set at The Post in Fort Worth that will be streamed for North Texas Irish Festival.  Then we have some outdoor and socially-distanced shows coming up afteward.  Details below.  Looking forward to being back on stage and performing!


NORTH TEXAS IRISH FESTIVAL (NTIF), Dallas, Texas, March 5-7 

LEGACY HALL, Plano, Texas, March 13, 2021, 1:30pm - 3:30pm 

COPPELL ART CENTER, Coppell, Texas, March 13, 2021, 8:00pm - 9:30pm 

LEGACY HALL, Plano, Texas, March 17, 2021, 7:00pm - 9:00pm 

The Known World Project 

I've got a new musical endeavor called The Known World Project debuting this month.  When the St. Paddy's season was effectively wiped out, I wanted to do something.  If I couldn't perform, I could at least continue to make some music.  My bandmate Dave, from The Selkie Girls, and I starting kicking around some new songs.  Since the band couldn't rehearse, we just starting working on arrangements back and forth.  Then we began to invite some of our musical friends to join in the fun.  We recruited Chris Buckley, a long-time friend from Austin, and world-class fiddle player, to add his magic onto some tracks.  Jaycie from The Selkie Girls with her ethereal vocals and warm flutes, Scooter Muse, great banjo and guitar player from Alabama, Cara Wildman on the bodhran, Martin McCall on drums.  And the hope is that more friends will eventually join in.  There are no limits. 


LIKE the Facebook Page 
VIST the Website 

SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube Channel:  The Known World Project 

ENGAGE with us on Instagram @theknownworldproject

Here's the first song - Wolves.  

Thig Am Bata with Cara Wildman 

Please enjoy my collaboration with internationally known bodhran player, Cara Wildman.  This song proved to be a lyrical and rhythmic beast, but I'm proud of our final result.  

To quote from Cara's description:  


I first heard this tune in a bodhrán masterclass with 

Martin O'Neill 

in 2016 when I was studying in Limerick. He and Julie Fowlis got the tune from Mairi Smith, who is from the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides. The lyrics are ultra creepy (see below): a woman is happily married with small children. Her sister is envious of the woman's happiness, so murders the married sister and steals her husband and children. The husband later finds his dead wife drowned in the sea with her hair floating among the seaweed. The time signature is as scary as the lyrics, with four bars phrases in 13/8, 12/8, 11/8, and 12/8. The most challenging part for me wasn't the time signature as much as getting really clean tones with left hand, especially in bar three. 

A note from Martin: "When I was notating it originally to record it with Julie, I wrote it as one bar of 13/8 and 3 bars of 12/8, essentially forcing Julie to take a breath/pause on the 3rd line. Only five minutes before we recorded it we got Mairi Smith, from the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, on the phone to check we had it right. Julie passed the phone to me and I quickly realised I had an extra beat in there somewhere. A little moment of panic, but we figured it out and hit record a few minutes later and the result was the version you now know, 13/8, 12/8, 11/8, 12/8." 

The boat will come, early tomorrow. 

My father will be on board and my three brothers. 

My brown-haired husband at the breast-oar. 

They'll find me drowned. 

They will lift me up on the oars. 

My brown cloak swimming in the sea. 

My brown locks among the carageen. 

My silver broch among the sand. 

It wasn't hunger that sent me to the shore 

or a craving for dulse or limpets. 

Another farewell to my little ones, 

one a year old, one a two year old. 

The year old, who is not strong, 

I left him in the back room. 

Tonight he will ask for his mother's breast. 

If he does he will get only sea-water. 

Oh my curses on the jealous woman 

She left me on the rock of drowning 

The boat will come early tomorrow, 

They'll find me drowned. 

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