So Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder’s latest solo outing “Ukulele Songs” finally landed on my doorstep today! Needless to say I’ve had it on endless rotation since it’s arrival. This is not a hard thing to do as while the album is amazing, it’s also amazingly short coming in at just shy of 35 minutes.
Length aside, each song is still its own masterpiece in stripped down melodic magic. The tracks drip with Vedder’s familiar haunting vocal tones accompanied by the simple yet soulful sounds of his faithful ukulele.
The album opens with Can’t Keep, a Pearl Jam cover stripped back and laid bare but still retaining a modicum of rock from the Seattle grunge days.
Goodbye is fast becoming my personal favorite. A sweet yet saddening track which melts in classic Vedder style a combination of yearning for more whilst saying farewell “and for what feels like the first time, I don’t know where you are tonight, I guess that this is goodbye.”
The first single “Longing to Belong” is one of the smoother songs on the album and and definitely a showcase of Vedder’s strengths. Tonight You Belong To Me is another surprise as Chan Marshall of Cat Power joins to flirtatiously duet in this cover of a 1920’s classic.
Other tracks sway in style from the uplifting You’re True through to the mellow Hawaiian hula-esque harmonies of Sleepless Nights.
Ukulele Songs really is an accomplishment is bringing out the trademark rich and raw tones of Eddie Vedder’s voice, then backing it with the often friendly, sometimes sorrowful strummings of the much underrated ukulele.
If you don’t know who Mumford & Sons are then you really should! In my opinion they one of the most original and entertaining British bands to emerge in a long, long time. This clip is from their bookshop sessions and it’s a killer version of their song, Little Lion Man. Turn this one up LOUD!
(slight language warning)
Former Dresden Doll and ukulele goddess Amanda Palmer was arrested in the Netherlands earlier this week for performing an impromptu ukulele gig in Dam Square, Amsterdam. Famous in the ukulele world for her cover of Radiohead’s Creep, she organised the mini concert via Twitter and arrived to a crowd of fans eagerly awaiting her performance.
Local police took offence to Palmer’s choice of public venue for the performance, citing that performing at a war memorial is against the law. Palmer was detained by police but released shortly after and issued with an undisclosed fine.
She later Tweeted; “Dear Amsterdam, sorry I got arrested & the gig ended prematurely. you will all have to come to Utrecht tomorrow. love, afp.”
Listen to Amanda Palmer’s cover of Creep here.
There’s so much ukulele related content out there on the web, certainly more than I expected when I first picked up my uke! If you’re a beginner ukester or a more seasoned strummer, here’s a bunch of sites that will certainly inspire your ukulele love…
Uketoob – It’s like YouTube, for ukulele players. Oh yeah!
Gotaukulele – A top little ukulele blog with songs, tips, reviews and more.
Ukulele Tabs – All your chord and tab needs in one place. (UK users click here)
Ukelele Underground – The forum for uke lovers all over the planet.
Mike’s YouTube Channel – Hundreds of well made instructional videos.
Be sure to comment with any other great uke sites out there!
Some news! My sister back in Australia has just given birth to her first child, a baby boy, making me an uncle! Unfortunately I couldn’t be there in person to congratulate her and hubby in person so to celebrate I sent her this little clip of me picking out a Lullaby. I thought I’d share it with you too.
Johannes Brahms – Lullaby
£20 Vintage VUK20 Soprano + Aquila Nylguts.
Please excuse my horrid attempt at this classical piece.
Albumen, the 3rd album from British ukulele sensations The Re-entrants is due to be released on Monday 9th May. If you haven’t heard of The Re-entrants, they are ukulele cover masters. Check this video of them covering MJ’s Thriller:
“The Re-entrants formed in 2007, when Phil Doleman and Ian Emmerson encountered each other on an internet ukulele forum and found they were near neighbours. They quickly became one of the most in-demand ukulele acts in the UK.”
The track list for Albumen includes covers of; Crazy Horses, Gold, Virginia Plain, Shine, I am the Walrus, Poker Face, Hotel Yorba, Radar Love, In Your Eyes, The Last Time, Total Eclipse of the Heart and No More Heroes.
All three albums can be ordered via The Re-entrants website.
Downloads are available over at CDBaby and on iTunes.