Pearl Jam front-man Eddie Vedder released his first solo album last week, “Ukulele Songs,” which, as of yesterday, sits at number four on the Billboard charts. It’s a 16-song set performed on, you guessed it, the ukulele. It’s a surprisingly strong collection, considering Vedder described the recording process of using only his voice and the uke as something like “painting with one color.” The album’s opener, “Can’t Keep,” appeared on the Pearl Jam record “Riot Act.” Most of the other tracks are odds and ends, covers or tunes that Vedder has played live at solo shows for years. One song in particular caught our ear. “Satellite” was penned for Damien Echols, of the West Memphis Three. The song was written from the perspective of Lorri Davis, Echols’s wife:
“Don’t you worry, I believe your story. You were put away for something you didn’t do. While I’m waiting, I’ve been saving my love.”
Vedder and Pearl Jam have been long-time supporters of the WM3. Vedder’s relationship with Echols goes back quite awhile. Of course, there was last year’s Voices for Justice show here in Little Rock. In 2006, the two co-wrote the song “Army Reserve” from Pearl Jam’s self-titled album.