By: Brittany Rotondo
Singer-songwriter Glen Hansard gets epic on his latest “This Wild Willing” and spares no expense. There’s an extravagant overcast about the Irishman’s newest album, which was written only weeks after supporting Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder on a nationwide tour and had the songwriter eager to drop his emotional and literal baggage.
While roaming the streets of Paris, and guided by the words of Hemingway, Hansard stumbles upon a group of Iranian musicians, The Khoshravesh Brothers, who’d become a more integral and unconventional part of “This Wild Willing”, bringing a cultural component to the table.
The Khoshravesh Brothers, having studied classical and traditional music, now joined Hansard in what evolved into a mounting roster of growing songs and musicians. -A collective of the Grammy-nominated songwriter’s courier messengers, of sorts. Hansard explains, “I heard differently, and new possibilities emerged. The ease by which they followed their own melodic line while being sympathetic to mine was intoxicating.”
The Academy award winning Hansard is something of an indie folk hero. Having dropped out of school by the age of thirteen, busking on the streets, the troubadour has crafted music since, eventually cutting his teeth with bands The Swell Season, The Frames and skyrocketing to universal stardom with 2007’s romantic drama/musical “Once”.
“This Wild Willing” sees Hansard and his militia of musicians at a precipice of prominence on the steady development of his solo career. “All a song wants is to be heard. I hope something in this music can be of use.”, explains the Irishman.
The twelve-song album leads off with “I’ll Be You Be Me” an unrequited whisper that climbs to a distressing sentiment of exposure and the risk of opening oneself to another, which is what this album encompasses. Released by Anti Records, the veteran troubadour’s opening number even gives credit to classic rock band Queen, eventually leading into a more light-hearted “Don’t Settle”, one of the tracks not recorded in France. The album concludes with “Leave a Light”, reminiscent as Hansard puts it as, “a boat trip along the coastline of Spain.” A song of ever glowing recollection, simple and traditional, to round out an album of rising tides.
On May 31st The Bowery Presents with WXPN will welcome Glen Hansard to The Merriam Theater to kick off his This Wild Willing Tour for a sure to be compelling performance. “Sometimes, when you take a small musical fragment and you care for it, follow it and build it up, slowly, it can become a thing of wonder…”
Rating: Aisling 10/10