Saturday, October 15, 2011

Eddie Vedder Ukulele Songs Album Review


Outside of their Ten album I am not super sprung on Pearl Jam, but frontman Eddie Vedder has one of the greatest (and most distinctive) voices in rock. When I heard that he came out with a solo ukulele album earlier this summer, I had to check it out. I am on the ukulele bandwagon, after all.

Ukulele Songs is Vedder’s second solo album, and rumor has it that he never really intended for this album to be released. He picked up a ukulele in Hawaii back in the 1990s, and wrote a bunch of the songs for this album on it over the past ten years. It was recorded in Seattle and Oahu, and one of my favorites, Adam Kasper, co-produced the album.

Mr. Vedder decided to stick with the ukulele so there was only one type of sound on the album (as he says, it is like painting with one color). Well, there is also a contribution from Cellist Chris Worswick on "Longing to Belong", but it is still in support of the ukulele.

There is plenty of ukulele, but the star is Eddie’s voice, and the lyrics that he wrote. Maybe the originals are autobiographical, as the sadder songs might document the end of his first marriage, while the happier ones honor his latest. Maybe it is just my imagination, but it seems personal.

Besides the 12 originals, he threw in a handful of cover tunes, and my favorite is “Tonight You Belong to Me”, which he did with Chan Marshall (Cat Power). Remember that song from The Jerk? He also re-did the classics “Dream a Little Dream of Me” and “More Than You Know”. It is a shame he did not include The Who’s “Blue, Red and Grey”. Heh.

Admittedly, it does not sound like the greatest album concept of all time, but it really works, and I have not gotten tired of it yet. It is well worth the 10 bucks I paid for it to iTunes, and I suggest you give Ukulele Songs a listen.



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