If you’re familiar with the film Once chances are you’ll be familiar with the name and sounds of Glen Hansard. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland Hansard began his career at 13, busking on street corners in his home town and subsequently taking up the role as guitarist Outspan Foster in the 1991 film The Commitments. Since his days of acting Hansard has released a number of records with The Frames, and folk/rock duo The Swell Season and in 2012 released his debut solo record Rhythm and Repose.
Already a legend in his own right, Glen Hansard flexes his lyrical and vocal prowess in fine fashion anchored by melancholy and love on Didn’t He Ramble .
With Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Leonard Cohen acting as his ‘gods’ he has softly fallen into a sound that is both unique and homey – comforting, unrefined and evident heavily throughout his upcoming record and first in three years Didn’t He Ramble.
Honing in on the themes that effect each of us on a personal level, Hansard allows a deeper look into his thoughts, his evolution as a human being and his growth as a singer / songwriter and does so through his exploration of life, love and the unknown, giving somewhat overused themes a peculiar awakening.
His first and latest single from the LP Winning Streak is a hopeful track that sees Hansard wishing a never-ending stroke of luck to whomever the song may be about. Venturing through the lyrics with the inevitable breezy acoustic picking, a crisp drum beat, and a catchy keys riff, one may very well mistake it for a Hillsong track, but underneath the somewhat pop inflicted outer layer is a balanced song that has been composed with delicacy and emotion.
Closing track and the standout of the record, Stay on the Road is a soft and supple acoustic entrance into lyrics as poetic as Cohen’s circa 65. Hansard uses little force with his vocals, allowing them to melt like chocolate in the subconscious and leave traces of euphoria throughout the body; “C’mon pilgrim stay on the road, but that distance from your mind, don’t let it show”.
Glen Hansard seldom let his star-spangled love songs on Didn’t He Ramble become boring, for with the melancholy lays an abundance of decedent meanings, and profound lyrical ability that gives each of his records a strange and enthralling vibe. A must hear for those intrigued by music with true emotional depth.