Emily Saliers (of The Indigo Girls), Sara Watkins (of I’m With Her and Nickel Creek), The Weepies and Will Kimbrough will be among the artists contributing tracks to Born to Uke, an album featuring ukulele-based versions of all the songs from Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run album. The performers were limited to ukulele, bass, vocals and percussion except on one song, “Jungleland.”
It will be released on Jan. 18.
You can listen to some excerpts below. In a way, the stripped-down, acoustic songs sound as if they might if they had been recorded for Springsteen’s Nebraska.
All proceeds from Born to Uke will benefit Little Kids Rock, which funds music education in underprivileged public schools.
Keith Metzger produced the album as well as performing one of its tracks, “She’s the ONe.”
“I’ve always been a fan of Springsteen,” he said in a press release, “and at one point thought ‘She’s the One’ off of Born to Run might make a great cover, in the style I’d been recording. It had a Bo Diddley beat with a tribal feel to it that I thought lent itself thematically to the ukulele.
“After finishing the recording I thought: ‘What if one were to do ukulele covers of the entire Born to Run album?’ I didn’t have time or the patience to pull that off, and so I thought, ‘What about if other artists were involved?’ The question then became: Why would other artists of any note want to do it? At that time, I had become familiar with Little Kids Rock, knew that Bruce’s sax player Clarence Clemons had been involved in its founding, and it all kind of clicked for me.”
For more information, or to pre-order the album, visit borntouke.com.
Here is the track listing:
“Thunder Road,” Sara Watkins
“Tenth Avenue Freeze-out,” Will Kimbrough
“Night,” Svavar Knútur
“Backstreets,” The Weepies
“Born to Run,” Emily Saliers
“She’s the One,” Keith Metzger
“Meeting Across the River,” Albatross
“Jungleland,” Kai Welch
Perhaps there’s a trend here. Jim Boggia has recently performing some ukulele-and-vocals shows featuring Springsteen songs and titled “Bruce Off Broadway.”