Wednesday 12 December 2018

Is Hansard back to 'making art'?

He famously invoked people to make art from the Oscars stage … but with his latest EP, Glen Hansard is borrowing art instead.

The Frames frontman has just released a covers record, It Was Triumph We Once Proposed…Songs of Jason Molina.

It's a fitting tribute to the late Ohio songwriter Molina, a collaborator of Hansard's who died in 2013. They may not be Hansard's songs, but, as is par for the course with any of his offerings, the end result is brimming with heartfelt and powerful emotion.

It's rather notable that of late, the songwriter usually known for his industriousness has been taking his merry time releasing new, original music.

The EP is Hansard's first release in two years; he released the Drive All Night EP in 2013. Is it a case of writer's block... or has he been kept busy elsewhere?

Fame

The period of extreme highs and lows that followed Hansard's Oscar win in 2008 have been already chronicled at length in a revealing documentary, The Swell Season. It became clear the Hansard, normally a down-home kind of guy, found it pretty difficult to navigate post-awards fame.

And in the years since, Hansard's career has taken one or two curious turns. A solo album, Rhythm & Repose, was well received in 2012: a song from it, Take The Heartland, appeared on the soundtrack of The Hunger Games. That same year, Hansard surprised everyone by playing himself on TV dramedy Parenthood.

What new material is coming down the line, it's hard to tell, and Hansard's keeping his cards close to his chest. Still, he is keeping himself busy on the road in the meantime. Fresh from an 'intimate venue' US tour, he's now gearing up for a cluster of Irish summer dates, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Frames.

And, as anyone who caught their 2010 anniversary shows knows full well, these dates will be truly barnstorming.

Their 2011 album For The Birds remains a stone-cold classic, but the question begs to be answered. Will there be a Frames offering in the years ahead?

"Right now, I don't know what The Frames should sound like," Hansard said in 2012. "If we do get back together, we'll forget about who we all think we are to each other and what The Frames are supposed to be and just make music."

Tanya Sweeney

Herald

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