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Eddie Vedder: Ukelele Songs

Pearl Jam front dude gets all deep with Formby’s banjo.

Some go for a collection of their acoustic numbers with the London Philharmonic. Eddie Vedder, on the other hand, has opted to strip it all back to just himself and his ukelele for this solo trip.

The instrument’s major contribution to recorded music came in the hands of George Formby, who sang about cleaning windows. Ed has weightier matters in mind for his four-string.

Nonetheless, when he begins to strum it rapidly, as he does at the end of the otherwise pretty Broken Heart, it’s the ghost of Formby that haunts him – and in comical style. However good on the uke you get – and Ed is pretty good – it’s not a versatile sound or a sombre one, and intoning lyrics of deep gravitas over the top adds to the incongruity of the endeavour.

With lines like: ‘I believe in nothing but the pain’ to the fore, at times it would take a heart of stone not to laugh.