Glen Hansard bounded onto the scene with his Oscar-winning work in the 2007 film Once as one-half of The Swell Season (QRO photos), but has since gone solo. Obviously his post-breakthrough work can’t have the same revelatory affect, but he remains a strong singer-songwriter with his second solo album, Didn’t He Ramble.
The release’s title can be seen as a little bit of a joke, considering how intimate it is: yes, Hansard can sing your ear off, but that’s what you’re looking for. From the heartfelt grace of opener “Grace Beneath the Pines” to emotional power of closer “Stay the Road”, Hansard gets close and personal with the listener. The Irishman channels the power of Southern revival on pieces like “Her Mercy” and “Lowly Deserter”, and can shift from the grand & dramatic (“My Little Ruin”) to stripped down (“McCormack’s Wall”).
Didn’t He Ramble is still within the parameters that Hansard first set with Once, on the adult contemporary end of the country-folk side of things (this is an album that your mother or grandmother will like), and a few songs play it a bit simple and safe (“Paying My Way”). But Glen Hansard has proven his intimate chops more than Once.