I was a little nervous about the latest Glen Hansard tour. His new album The Wild Willing is subdued and dark instead of his usual positive and spirited vocals. Would the entire show be full of gloom? I was immediately reassured when Hansard started the show with Her Mercy from his album Didn’t He Ramble (one of my favorites). His sensational band guided the song while Hansard roared like he was giving a gospel sermon. Other favorites When Your Mind’s Made Up, Lowly Deserter, and of course the Oscar wining Falling Slowly were performed with great passion. When he played the solo piano ballad Bird of Sorrow, the audience was in tears.
The songs that left the biggest impression were from his new album. Distorted vocals made Race to The Bottom capture the audience attention when Hansard sung, “The radio silence and anarchists are gathering names, dates and lists for burin’/It’s a long way down to the bottom that we’ve been racin.” Acoustic guitar legend Javier Mas who previously played with Leonard Cohen did an amazing solo giving an Eastern feel to the tune. The Closing Door had …wait for it…. images of doors closing projected above the stage to the building rhythm of the music while Hansard whispered, “The closing door/The blue-eyed raven/You’ll send no more/Above the congregation.”
Hansard explained, “A friend asked me to go on a boat. The rules were no complaining and no money. It was the closest I lived as a true troubadour.” His friend was writer Danny Sheehy who convinced Hansard to join him and three others on a traditional boat (powered by just the crew’s oars) from Ireland to Northern Spain (Hansard was on the 2016 leg for six-weeks). Food and shelter were provided by charitable fishermen who were curious about their vessel. Music played in taverns had patrons doling out free adult beverages for the crew. There is a documentary about the odyssey called The Camino Voyage. You can find out more by clicking here. The traditional sounding folk song Leave A Light took the audience along his incredible journey. “So say goodbye to the long cold winter/And farewell to all we’ve left behind/From far away on the deep black ocean. /You’re the one I’ll come back to find.”
The show gave me a greater appreciation for Hansard’s latest album with the help of his charm and storytelling. It was a reminder that light always comes out of darkness. It almost enticed me to take a six-week boat trip… Almost.
Making her Denver debut Diana DeMuth started off the night of music. She sang tunes about hotels, highways, and lost loves. With just her acoustic guitar and a uniquely deep beautiful voice, Demuth captured the folk lovers crowd approval quickly. Someone behind us commented that she sounded like Brandi Carlile. DeMuth’s first single off her new album recorded in Woodstock, NY will drop this November. The remaining songs will be released in 2020. She promised a return to Denver in the beginning of next year.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one avoiding a six-week boat trip.