How it’s New York: Concerts in New York to launch the new album Between Two Shores 
How it’s Irish: Irish singer/songwriter Glen Hansard

Starting on January 19th, 2018, Glen Hansard arrived on our shores to launch his new CD and gave two wonderfully different gigs at Town Hall and Brooklyn Steel.

Friday night Glen started off a with a very intimate feeling show at Town Hall peppered with guest appearances, loads of songs from the new CD and plenty of old favorites.

The initial feel walking into the hall was being in Glen’s living room, complete with a nod to the theatrical part of town with the large bass drum resident onstage featuring a slogan from the iconic New York musical “Guys and Dolls” and Sarah Brown’s Save a Soul Mission.  A few vintage standing lamps and carpets against the dark curtains behind gave a cozy feel to the vast hall.

The night started off with a new song Why Woman which moved into a tribute to Dolores O’Riordan with a few bars from her iconic song Linger and the night was off.

He moved through a selection of the songs from the new record and his previous releases.  He was joined by the first of the night’s guests, noted photographer and blues artist Danny Clinch on harmonica for a rousing version of Wayback in the Wayback When from his 2016 EP A Season on the Line.

The guests continued throughout the evening, with a tribute to the 60th Birthday of Shane MacGowan featuring Kenneth Griffin from August Wells giving a soaring version of A Pair of Brown Eyes and Brendan O’Shea and Anthony Mulcahy, both stalwarts of the East Village scene joining for A Rainy Night In Soho

Always one to promote his friends, Glen gave the stage over to his longtime buddy Brendan O’Shea who sand his own song Southryn Sky

Great stories abounded, from the history of Town Hall, a conversation with a homeless man in Dublin whose words became the lyrics for the song Shelter which he played on piano, and a hysterical account of talking with Beck about having lived in his old apartment.  There was even some current political commentary when Glen related his search for the original lyrics to the Woody Guthrie classic Vigilante Man.  He told of travelling to see the Guthrie archives and discovering that the song was actually written about Donald Trump’s father.  Glen then performed a powerful rendition of the tune, complete with his own lyrics “he vilifies the Muslims but won’t condemn the Clan…”

The evening was rounded out with the appearances of Jazz Passengers trombone player Curtis Fowkles on Lowly Deserter and Wedding Ring from Didn’t He Ramble, and Irish trad legend Brenndán Ó Beaglaoich on accordion and Cape Breton fiddler Rosie McKensie came on for a few tunes and a gorgeous Sean Nos song Óró Mo Bháidín which Glen learned on a sea voyage he made a few years ago with Brenndán.

The night finished with an ethereal performance of The Lord’s Prayer (Ár nAthair) by traditional singer Irla O’Lionard.  A fitting end to an evening filled with beautiful songs from the wealth of Glen’s friend base.

Then it was onto Sunday night at Brooklyn Steel for the Rock and Roll version of the show.  With a fairly similar setlist to the Friday night show, but a bit more plugged in.  Added to this show were his regular guitar player Rob Bochnik, and a brass and string section, along with a new drummer I hadn’t seen play with him before.

He rocked up with the volume and featured another new friend at this show, the heart-stopping Dundalk singer/songwriter David Keenan who performed a mini set of his own material.  With a voice like the love child of Jeff Buckley and Janis Joplin and a poetic soul and humor that will grab your attention, he is the hot new item on the Irish music scene.  His debut CD Strip Me Bare Vol 1 has already sold-out it’s initial run and I can’t wait to hear volume 2!   You can check him out here

and here’s a song from Brooklyn Steel

David will be appearing at the Irish Arts Center in June and it’s already sold out!  But watch our calendar and I will post any other gigs he might do while in town.

The long weekend of great music was capped off with an after-hours sing-song in The Scratcher, Glen’s East Village home, that went into the wee hours, with most of the above referenced guest and a few more from the crowd, all being whipped into a frenzy by the force that is Brenndán Ó Beaglaoich.

You can get a copy of Between Two Shores on Itunes or it’s available on Vinyl and CD at Rough Trade in Brooklyn!  Look for Gwen’s review of the album to come.


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