As a child, I was taught that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This “to each his own” philosophy that my parents have instilled in me is a rule that I have tried to live my life by, especially when it comes to musical preference. Regardless if I dislike a band or a song, who am I to reprimand somebody for enjoying it? However, there are certain musicians that I simply must defend to the death against naysayers and critics. Irish folk rocker Glen Hansard can be described as one of these musicians, and for that reason, he is Rukkus’ Artist of the Week.
Hansard’s Musical Allure Takes Shape on New EP
The forty-three year old multi-instrumentalist is better known for his active role in the Irish indie-rock band, The Frames, or The Swell Season—his folk rock duo with Czech singer Markéta Irglová. Any familiarity with either group assures ones knowledge of Hansard’s quality as both a vocalist and a songwriter. Defined by his soft whispering voice, Hansard creates mellow vibes and soothing atmospheres wherever, and whenever he sings. He continues to concoct such euphonious music through his new solo EP, Drive All Night.
Hansard’s four-song project is made up of three original compositions, as well as a mellifluous rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Drive All Night.” The title track opens up the album, with harmonious support from Eddie Vedder, Joe Henry, and Jake Clemons (nephew of the late E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons). Hansard’s recreation of the Springsteen classic, which appeared on his fifth studio album, The River, embodies all the same emotion as the original, but with a much more folk influence. Vedder and Henry’s harmonies add a rewarding richness to the songs overall depth, while Clemons’ sax channels the spirit of his late uncle. The song starts the album off with an emotional bang that will undoubtedly trigger senses of nostalgia and reminiscence.
The remaining three songs on the EP continue the low-key nature of Hansard’s musical styles. “Pennies in the Fountain” wrenches the hearts of listeners through its veridical lyricism and helplessly emotive sound. “Renata” adds a sense of blues to Drive All Night. Hansard cries out “Am I a fool, for sticking around for you,” and “put your back into it, it looks good on you” as the organ-heavy ballad is gradually accompanied by the weepy-natured sounds of violin. On the albums closing track, “Step out of the Shadows,” Hansard abandons all instrumentation, using nothing but the smoothness of his voice to conclude the EP.
As a musician, Hansard performs with consummate grace. He continues to impress his constantly growing fan-base through his polished compositions and recognizable talents as a singer/songwriter. Whether in front of a band, or simply by himself, Glen Hansard is an artist whose love for music and performing ensures audience satisfaction, regardless of who he is playing for.
Drive All Night was digitally released through Anti Records on December 3rd. Be sure to check out Hansard’s Rukkus page for information on upcoming tour dates.