Glen Hansard at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO on 3/14/18

Glen Hansard and the string section

Before the concert Glen Hansard went into his favorite hangout in Boulder, Colorado the Beat Book Shop.  He purchased a vintage copy of The American Mercury magazine that featured stories from famous American writers from the 1920s and 1930s for inspiration. When touring first brought the Irish singer to Boulder, the shop owner Thomas Peters introduced him to the work of Boulder born author John Fante.  The writer’s emotional descriptive stories detail the struggles and humor of everyday life.  The same can be said about Glen Hansard’s songs about lost souls, the broken-hearted, and redemption.

Guitarist Rob Bochnik and the horn section

His impressive band included a string section that layered lush sound and horn players that brought powerful soul to the music.   Hansard played guitar, piano, mandolin, and even a loot throughout the evening.  The altitude affected his multiple instruments tuning, Hansard’s running joke was blaming it on his guitar tech each time he had to tune them.  The set list was a combination of his solo albums, the soundtrack to the film Once, music from his rock group The Frames, and an altered Woody Guthrie cover.

Glen Hansard – all photos
by the Rock and Roll Princess

Glen Hansard asked the audience, “Do you mind if I get a little hippy for a moment?”  The Boulder audience of course obliged (it was like asking if Willie Nelson would mind if you smoked marijuana on his tour bus). Hansard explained that the energy generated from the crowd was reflecting what the band was giving back to them (he admitted it was cliche). The theater’s energy resulted in Hansard pouring his soul into gut-wrenching songs that touched the heart of everyone in the theater.

Hansard’s new album Between Two Shores has more of a rock feel than his last two folk albums.  The song Roll on Slowly morphed into a cover of fellow Irishman Van Morrison’s song Gloria.  Pianist Romy sang and played Marketa Irgolva’s part beautifully on his Academy Award winning song Falling Slowly.  He dedicated it to his ex-singing partner Irgolva like he does every time he performs it without her.  Hansard started the chorus too early, but admitted to the mistake making the ladies in the string section laugh.

Glen Hansard with the band

Woody Guthrie wrote the song Vigilante Man about his landlord Fred Trump (President Donald Trump‘s father).  Hansard altered the lyrics to include lines about the wall, Big Macs, and the size of … buttons. The Boulder audience applauded and giggled at every hysterical line.

The three hour concert concluded when the entire band came to the front of the stage to sing the folk standard Passing Through – I was with Franklin Roosevelt’s side on the night before he died/He said, one world must come out of World War Two/ Yankee, Russian, white or tan. He said, a man is still a man/We’re all on one road, and we’re only passing through.” When Glen Hansard was leaving the theater, he recommended the John Fante novel The Road to Los Angeles to one of his fans.  He wanted to share one of his sources of inspiration while he was … just passing through.

See at the next show.  I will be reading a John Frante novel for inspiration to alter Woody Guthrie song lyrics.

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