Album Review: Glen Hansard – Drive All Night EP

By on Monday, 25th November 2013 at 12:00 pm

Ireland’s Glen Hansard, best known as leader of The Frames and half of The Swell Season, has followed up his debut solo album, ‘Rhythm and Repose’, with a new charity EP called ‘Drive All Night’. Sales of the EP will benefit Little Kids Rock, an American nonprofit organization aiming to revitalize music education in public schools.

The ‘Drive All Night’ EP centers on Hansard’s cover of the classic Bruce Springsteen track. This version features an appearance by Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder as well as Jake Clemons (nephew of the late E Street Band member, Clarence Clemons) on saxophone and production by Americana singer-songwriter Joe Henry. Hansard’s singing voice is richer and more melodic than Springsteen’s, adding an extra degree of warmth to his interpretation, which is otherwise true to the smouldering intimacy of the original.

‘Pennies In the Fountain’ and ‘Renata’ are both soulful, yearning love songs crafted to showcase the expressive emotional qualities of Hansard’s singing. The former is a gently rocking piano number in a swaying triple meter whose mournful lyrics, ‘we loved for the joy of love itself / we threw our pennies in the fountain, wished for nothing else’ convey the ephemeral nature of a lost romance. The latter is a bluesy and beseeching torch song with a groove that practically begs for a slow dance in a darkened room.

‘Step Out of the Shadows’, penned impulsively in 2012 just before a show at New York’s Housing Works Bookstore Café, is an impressive nod to Hansard’s traditional folk style. Its simple verse-chorus-verse structure and completely a capella arrangement allow the heavy but hopeful lyrics to make maximum impact. This is the kind of tune that could (and probably did on the aforementioned occasion) reduce the audience to jaw-dropped silence in a live performance. In fact, any of these four tracks would be a fine addition to Hansard’s touring repertoire.


Glen Hansard will play two dates at Dublin’s Vicar Street on the 25th and 26th of November. All proceeds will go to the Peter McVerry Trust and the Dublin Simon Community, both of which work to combat homelessness in Dublin.

‘Drive All Night’ will be released on the 25th of November in the UK (26th of November in America) on Anti Records. It is currently available to stream for a limited timeon the New York Times Web site.

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3 Responses

12:01 pm
25th November 2013

Album Review: Glen Hansard @Glen_Hansard’s charity release ‘Drive All Night’ EP for Little Kids Rock @littlekidsrock

12:46 pm
25th November 2013

RT @tgtf: Album Review: Glen Hansard @Glen_Hansard’s charity release ‘Drive All Night’ EP for Little Kids Rock @littlekidsrock…

3:40 pm
25th November 2013

@frictionliza Here’s a link to @tgtf’s review of the EP, in case you’re interested. Thanks!

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