It is a sadly inevitable that artists get known for just one song and usually for all the wrong reasons, reasons more to do with cultural zeitgeist or lucky exposure. So if you are one of those people who only know the name Glen Hansard for the duet Falling Slowly from the film Once, then you have missed out on 27 years of him fronting the most excellent Frames and two exquisite solo albums to date. Shame on you.
His third solo outing, Between Two Shores, kicks off with a brace of songs which pretty much define the boundaries of the album. Roll On Slow is the sound of The E Street Band hanging around Old World beach front bars rather than the New Jersey shore and this is followed by The Van-tastic strains of Why Women. Someone once told me that most people in the seventies either wanted to be Bruce Springsteen or Van Morrison, Glen Hansard is the first person I have heard who manages to tip his hat to both at the same time and still sound like his own man.
But it isn’t all big music, even though he has employed many of his touring buddies, The Fellowship Band, to help fill out the sound, the clever use of restraint and space results in some wonderfully understated moments such as Movin’ On and the album’s beautiful swan song, Time Will Be The Healer.
Between Two Shores is a wonderful album, I doubt anyone who knows Hansard’s work thought it would be anything less, soulful, intimate, engaging and gorgeous…often all at the same time.