Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Miked - Live Reviews from Issue #43 Jan-Feb 2003

Glen Hansard

Hideout (Chicago, IL), October 6, 2002

Imagine you are an ocean away from home, have traveled 9,000 miles by van in a few short weeks, and have a single day off before flying halfway around the world. On your lone day of rest, what do you do? If you’re Glen Hansard, you ask a local club owner to open the bar on a Sunday night so you can play for free.

Hansard is the singer and songwriter at the fore of the Frames, a long-tenured Irish folk-rock band that fills large venues back home yet toils in obscurity Stateside. On this night, fresh from an American tour and awaiting a flight to Australia, he played an unscheduled solo show at the Hideout.

When Hansard took to the stage shortly after 11 p.m., barely more than two dozen people sat at tables in the club’s dim back room. They were Hansard’s friends and bandmates, Hideout regulars, a few Irish expats sipping Guinness. From the first quiet figure of the first song, they were rapt.

Onstage with the Frames, Hansard is a happy whirlwind, joking with the crowd between songs and deftly leading his band from reflective folk to buoyant rock. His solo set for this small gathering was a much more relaxed affair: Saying he wished every show could be so low-key, he introduced several songs with long, personal anecdotes. Using only the sparest of parts — a bedraggled Takamine acoustic, an equally well-worn Fender Strat and a harmonica — he mixed material from the most recent Frames disc, For The Birds, with tunes intended for its follow-up, and several covers.

He sang “Lay Me Down” so tenderly he seemed afraid the words might break, then launched into a jackhammer-strummed version of Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks”. The sounds of his tapping shoe, buzzing strings, and thumping pick filled the spaces he left in Frames faves “What Happens When The Heart Just Stops” and “Headlong”.

Shuffling pages of chords and lyrics, Hansard tried out several new songs, among them “Races” (which, he explained, is “about being sincere, though she thinks you’re an idiot”) and “The Blood” (about vampires, or maybe just bad girlfriends). With Chicagoan Rob Bochnik on lead guitar, he played the Frames oldie “Your Face” and a faithful, emotive cover of Will Oldham’s “New Partner”.

Alone, Hansard picked through the shimmering figures of the Irish standard “Raglan Road”, purring its lyric in a heavy brogue. His closing number, “Listen Girl”, was an unspoken tribute to his late friend Mic Christopher, a songwriter whose death a year ago was unexpected and much too soon.

Together, the simple beauty of Hansard’s songs, his charismatic command of the room, and the intimacy of the setting made for a magical night that proved, if anyone in the tiny crowd had doubted it, that this unsung songwriter and performer is a treasure. In America his star shines softly, but he likes it that way.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108


Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #43 Jan-Feb 2003

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »

From the Blogs

  • SummerTyne Americana Festival #9 - Jumping Hot Club Stage (Gateshead, U.K. - July 18-20, 2014)
    photos from this Festival are available here - http://www.harrisonaphotos.co.uk/Music/SummerTyne-2014/ Wow, it’s taken nearly two weeks for me to get my breath back after another frantic and wonderful SummerTyne Americana Festival. As I say every year, the crowds turn up not knowing anyone on the Jumping Hot Club… […]
  • The Song's the Thing: An Interview with Robby Hecht
    Robby Hecht sings like a whisper, like a hesitant truth that simply can’t go unsung anymore. His songs can invoke starry nights and fog rolling in on the beach. Lights turning off. Front porch silences and morning walks alone. Holding hands for the first time, letting go for the last. Across his three indie releases, Hecht has distinguished himself as the se […]
  • What Happens When a Band on the Rise Finds Out Its Name Is an Obscure Racial Stereotype? Meet Parsonsfield (Formerly Poor Old Shine).
    For Poor Old Shine, it started with a song… a traditional prison work song of the American South, called “Ain’t No Cane on This Brazos.” It’s been interpreted by everyone from Dylan and the Band, to the Low Anthem, Lyle Lovett and the Wood Brothers. And it was the song in one of the great scenes in the movie “Festival Express,” as a completely blotto Rick Da […]
  • Eric Clapton Pays Homage to His Late Friend JJ Cale
    A year after the death of  cult singer-songwriter JJ Cale, his close friend Eric Clapton has launched a tribute with an album and documentary, featuring the likes of Willie Nelson and Mark Knopfler. The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale features 16 interpretations of Cale's typically laid-back repertoire and is named after a 1972 release Call Me The Br […]
  • The Infamous Stringdusters on Country Fried Rock
    The Infamous Stringdusters tour so much that they even have their own festival, the Festy, with a fabulous lineup including our alumni, New Country Rehab. Chris Pandolfi and Andy Hall are so in sync that they alternate answering questions and finish each others' sentences. For their fifth album, Let It Go, the… […]
  • Jillpoke Bohemia: An Interview with the Author, Conducted by Himself - Part 2
    Let’s talk about the music behind Jillpoke Bohemia. Webcomics don’t typically have soundtracks, but one can imagine that a Jillpoke Bohemia soundtrack might sound pretty cool. Sure.  Maybe the comic could be represented by a virtual band, in the tradition of the Archies and the Gorillaz.  If we could find a couple of unknown musicians who sound the way I ima […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!

Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter