Get To Know Glen Hansard: A Quick Intro

by Kathy Davis on June 22, 2011

Glen Hansard/photo by Zoran Orlic

Some of you may have heard of Glen, some may not. You owe it to yourself to get to know this unique and passionate talent.

As a  big fan of The Frames, and the amazing singer songwriter Glen Hansard, who happens to front that band, I knew his stint opening for Eddie would be well-received. I’ve been eagerly awaiting July 5th to come up so I can see for myself in San Diego.   I think after Night 2 at the Beacon Theatre in New York, New York – the appreciation for Glen by converted Pearl Jam fans is going to elevate to an entirely different level. Since the tour started, the Message Pit has been buzzing with pleas from the initiated “Go see Glen Hansard! Not to be missed! Don’t miss out!”   I expect that many many more seats will be filled when Glen hits the stage. If they aren’t – they should be.   Glen said it best himself in this tweet:  (follow him at: Glen_Hansard)

Just sang falling slowly with Eddie Vedder! It never sounded so charged and big! His voice brought it to a whole new place! An honour..

Fill the seats, people. Glen Hansard is truly a dynamic force…If you need a quick intro to Glen, do this:

1. Listen to The Frames, go to their website -watch the below video of them performing “Revelate”  live in Cork, Ireland 2006 to get a taste of Glen’s intense energy as a front man. “Burn The Maps” and “The Cost” are particularly amazing albums, but…there really isn’t a bad one in my opinion.

2. Listen to The Swell Season, Glen’s “other band” formed with Marketa Irglova as an extension of their outstanding performances in the movie “Once”. The song that Glen and Ed duetted on in NYC2, “Falling Slowly”? Glen and Mar won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for that.  Watch the song as performed in the film here.  Here is Glen performing another song from the film, Say It To Me Now, at the Toronto Film Festival:

3. For some old school Glen as  a youth, see the legendary 1991 Irish film The Committments about “The World’s Hardest Working Band.”  He played “Outspan Foster”, the guitar player.  He looked like this then:

Glen Hansard as Outspan Foster in The Committments

The band went their separate ways shortly after the film, but reformed earlier this year for Irish TV’s “The Late Show”, and Glen participated. Here’s they are performing “Mustang Sally” :

In short, go see Glen Hansard – start by being there when he hits the stage before Eddie does at any date in his U.S. solo tour.  You will not be disappointed. Glen is a passionate, multi-talented, and brilliant songwriter. His guitar playing is a force – and his love of the instrument shines through. He shares that talent for being able to deliver both devastatingly tender, sweet ballads and boisterously balls-out no-holds-barred rock. Hmmm…sound familiar? Glen just loves playing music, and it shows.

I think the thing that truly appeals to me as a fan of his is best encapsulated in this story, about the hole-filled guitar on which he still plays (you’ve probably seen it at shows – or you will).

In one of their shows, Glen explained that this is the guitar he’s been playing since he was 14 years old (a gift from his Mother-KD) and it’s the same guitar from his days as a busker (street performer) in Ireland, your guitar takes a beating when you’re trying to be heard through traffic and street noise.

He told a funny story about a show they played in Japan. The type of guitar is a Takamine which is made in Japan, in the middle of the show, the owner of Takamine came out and presented him with a brand new guitar and politely asked that he stop playing the old beat up one because it was embarrassing to them. But he continues to play that one because it represents where he started as a musician.

Rock. Seriously.

Kathy Davis ( Twitter: @CrookedArm23 )
A Bay-Area based entrepreneur, co-editor Kathy conceives and writes her share of TFT’s articles and sections. She was co-editor/co-founder of one of the first Pearl Jam fanzines "Footsteps" (1992-1997). Kathy’s first Pearl Jam show was at the Bridge School Benefit on November 1, 1992.

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