For now, this is the album that matters. And it does matter.
Produced by Alan Parsons, one of the original grand project producers, this is a beautiful, masterful, sweeping-yet-never-pretensious work that grabs you from the begiing and holds you through its 40-plus minutes. We've heard some of these songs before, like "143" or Jake's version of "Over the Rainbow," but they are different now (I love the ending to "...Rainbow; so subtle and right). Joined sometimes by strings, sometimes without, it's always well balanced, with Jake's ukulele sounding perfect in every context.
There is also a certain maturity here, too. A very understated sound with Jake more relaxed, allowing the music to have a space that silently explodes into a wonderful bloom. Don't get me wrong--Jake shows his chops enough, but he no longer has to carry the whole show, proving he is amazing whether solo or ensemble. Don't take this the wrong way; I love listening to Jake thrash through "Thriller" or ""...Weeps" or "Bohemian Rhapsody," and I've been fortunate to see these done live several times and he never ceases to amaze me, but with Grand Ukulele, Jake now amazes in a different way. Full of power, but more subtle. More beautiful. More "Grand."
Check it out for yourself: