Eddie Vedder, ‘Ukulele Songs’
I really wanted to hate this release by Mr. Vedder of Pearl Jam fame. My thinking was that the end-result would be a lame vanity project by a burnt-out star. Not a chance. No black hole is found sucking all energy from its neighbors. Not a supernova either. However, this album is infused with artistry and depth. This simple instrument is not over-played, but is an excellent vehicle to express what is on the mind and heart of Mr. Vedder.
The tracks aren’t utterly spare. Cellist Chris Worswick provides gentle counterpoint in the plaintive “Longing to Belong.” Glen Hansard (The Frames, The Swell Season) plays Emmylou Harris to Vedder’s Gram Parsons in the country standard “Sleepless Nights,” while Cat Power‘s Chan Marshall flirts discreetly with him in the 1920s cutie “Tonight You Belong to Me.” A few sound effects and cutaways — one track is eight seconds long, and consists of Vedder flubbing a chord and comically swearing — mark this as a sort of bedroom recording, though it was actually made in studios in Seattle and on Oahu and co-produced by Northwest rock favorite Adam Kasper.
Read more and LISTEN @ NPR.ORG