I'll just say it, and get it right out there; it's best to be up front with these things. I'm in love with Glen Hansard.
Granted, I don't actually know Glen Hansard. I guess it would be more accurate to say I'm in love with his brains. And his voice. But I don't want to go on and on about his, you know... "features." I wouldn't want to objectify. Point is, he's brilliant, and I'm a big enough person to admit to myself that he's more talented than I will ever, ever be. I like it that way; it means I'll always have him to look up to.
If you haven't heard of Glen Hansard, here are the basics: He's been a busker since he dropped out of school to pursue his music in his early teens. He's the frontman of a band called The Frames
. He had a supporting role (as the guitar player, natch) in the great film The Commitments
. He starred in and composed/performed the music for a little independent film called Once
, for which he and co-star/co-singer Marketa Irglova won an Oscar (for the music). (You can pick up this film on Amazon for $8, no kidding. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to do so immediately.) These days, he and Marketa Irglova (along with the occasional addition of the guys from The Frames) are performing as a band called The Swell Season
, and their latest album, Strict Joy
, just came out a few months ago.
I have trouble describing exactly the effect that Glen's music has on me. I've often heard music that has moved me, but this is the first music that I feel has changed
me. Something about the stories that Glen tells with his music and the voice he tells them with makes me want to be a better person, makes me want to know more and experience more and appreciate people more and generally just be
more than I am. I'm not quite sure how to describe it to you, which is why I'd like for you to just experience it, which is why I've put together this post. Inside you'll find free downloads (free and
legal!), some of my favorite moments as brought to us by YouTube, and my commentary on why I'm so over the moon with it all. Think of it as a musical advent calendar, only you don't have to wait at all between numbers. ;) If you're not in the mood to listen to or read all of these, I do urge you to skip down to #1 on the list and check it out; I guarantee it'll brighten up your day.
Ten Ways To Make Your Heart Beat Out A Melody
An Introduction to The Swell Season
10. ( 'Fantasy man you are always one step ahead of me...' )
9. ( 'Well the years they get on top of you; the working load it tallied up, and you went down beneath it all like anybody would...' )
8. ( 'Everytime I try to fly I fall, without my wings I feel so small' )
7. ( 'Fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up' )
6. ( 'The truth has a habit of falling out of your mouth...' )
5. ( 'I have chose the long road that leads me to to God knows, so I can't stop right now...' )
4. ( 'We have all the time in the world -- to get it right, to get it right. We have all the love in the world -- to set alight, to set alight...' )
3. ( 'And so now there's a long list of places I was, I quit my rambling and came home...' )
2. ( 'The journey between your mind and your tongue can be so short, and yet it's such a long distance when it comes to actually saying something that we're afraid to say to others.' )
1. ( Moji joins The Swell Season on stage in Houston )
The Internet is a gold mine of Swell Season material, and there's plenty more of it out there if you look; I've got an ever-expanding youtube playlist
if you'd like to find more, and I'm sure there's more out there that I haven't discovered yet. Once again the bands' websites -- where you can buy cool swag like t-shirts and the gorgeous posters from The Swell Season's latest tour -- are:The Swell Season
~ The Frames
And that's my list. It was a labor of love, and I hope you enjoyed it. Though Glen is nearest and dearest to my heart at the moment (you can tell, because of how I call him "Glen" like we're BFFs), I'm always overjoyed to discover new music, so perhaps you'll share a few of your favorite bands in the comments?