I’ve been on an Irish music kick this week; Tuesday we had Damien Rice and today I figured I would do a piece on Glen Hansard and his unlikely story of success. Born in Dublin in 1970, Hansard quit school at the age of thirteen in favor of playing music on street corners for money, determined at a very young age to make music his livelihood.
In 1990 Hansard formed the rock group The Frames and in the twenty-one years since they have released eight full studio albums and two live albums along with gaining considerable popularity and acclaim along the way. Albums of note include their first album, Another Love Song which was released in 1991 and re-released last year as the original edition had gone out of print, as well as fan favorites Fitzcarraldo (released in 1996), Burn the Maps (2005) and The Cost (2006).
Hansard is associated with another act, The Swell Season, in which he is one half of a folk-rock duo paired with czech multi-instrumentalist Marketa Irglova. Formed in 2005, they have since released three full length albums together: A self titled in 2006, the soundtrack to the film Once which Hansard and Irglova starred in as well as wrote all the music for (the movie drew a lot of attention to the duo and led to their recognition in the United States as well as the clamoring of several record companies to sign them, all of which were declined) and Strict Joy in 2009 (My personal favorite). I love the Frames, but if you aren’t listening to The Swell Season you really should be. Something I hope I can help fix.
Glen Hansard writes thought provoking, evocative music and has a voice that switches easily between pretty, soft and controlled to heart-wrenchingly raw and powerful which only serves to heighten the emotional experience of listening to his music. There is an interesting dichotomy in listening to Hansard- sometimes you just want to hug him and tell him things will be fine, other times you find yourself wanting someone to hold you and say the same thing to you. So listen to these songs, and enjoy.
Also, he tends to look like a crazy homeless person.
Written by Logan Scott Ford
-Logan, Cody & Jeff