What Do You Get When You
Cross a Ukulele with U2?
By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
May 15, 2015
Some puns are born great (Daddy tomato is walking. Baby tomato can’t walk so fast. Daddy tomato turns to baby tomato, squishes him, says “catch up!”), some puns achieve greatness (What’s Forrest Gump’s password? 1forrest1), others have greatness thrust upon them (That time when you’re walking down the sidewalk and someone says “That’s where Glen Hansard drank… once.” And it takes a second for everyone to ketchup.)
And then there are those puns that fit none of these categories – puns so vertiginous they thrust the endless deep of their greatness upon you, puns you didn’t even know you were looking for, puns that demand action and once you’ve found can’t help but scream “achtung, baby!”
The brain child of guitarist Patsy O’Brian and his friend Frank Critelli, Uke2 is exactly what it sounds like – U2 covered with a ukulele.
“This project started with my good friend Frank Critelli while at a Ukulele concert in New Haven, CT a long time ago. Frank turned to me and said, “You know what we should do? U2 songs on Ukes and call the band UKE2!” “Yes, yes we should,” I replied. Then life happened – I hit the road, following it wherever it took me, and Frank concentrated on growing one of the coolest beards I’ve ever seen.
“Just recently I managed to pull Frank’s head out of his beard long enough to get his blessing, resurrect the project and hit the record button.”
O’Brien release a single track late April, “With or Without You,” and the song warbles back and forth between the familiar treble twee of ukulele and O’Brien’s haunting bass vocals that sound more like Sean Rowe than Bono.
The album is on sale at O’Brien’s website, and is pay-what-you-will. But before you decide to pay nothing for it, know that 75% of all the proceeds go to supporting Volunteer Transport, a non profit “created solely to give assistance to those wanting to travel to perform hands-on volunteer work yet need help covering the cost of transportation.”
“If there’s a U2 fan or 2 in your life and you want to support a great cause, pass it along,” O’Brien says.
O’Brien has been featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered for “Star of the County Down” and was awarded the 2003 American Folk Alliance (CT) Best Song Award for “Sacco & Vanzetti (Rise and Unite).”
For more of his songs, check out the rest of his Soundcloud offerings. They’ll be there with or without you, but they can’t play themselves. And for the times when you can’t make it on your own, O’Brien also offers online guitar lessons.
Rock on. ♦