Powerful Words And Music At The Grammy Museum – Busking With Glen Hansard And One Holy Guitar

Well this should have been published last week.  Technology most definitely wields a double-edged sword…

So here it is now…

Clive Davis Theatre

An empty stage… well empty of people, but filled with possibilities…

Two chairs… two bottles of water… two instruments… and soon… the most memorable musical magic.

For those of you who do not know Glen Hansard, he got his start busking on the streets of Ireland.  He knew if he truly wanted to pursue music, he needed to start at the bottom… and he did.  In the literal gutters of Dublin.

He was in the great film The Commitments, but apparently does not like to talk about that period of time in his life… and in 1990, at the age of 19 he founded the Dublin-based band The Frames.  This band kicks some major Rock n’ Roll ass, so if you don’t know them, pursue, my friends… pursue.

The band’s ex-bassist is John Carney, who wrote and directed the amazing and absolutely beautiful film Once, which is where Glen became a star and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, along with the equally stunning Markéta Irglová.  That tune “Falling Slowly” is simple and divine and filled with all of the powers of love.  Sigh…

And that film, by the way, scores a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and is a MUST SEE.  It is also the basis for the new Broadway Musical, Once!

From that film came a relationship between Glen and Markéta, and the band The Swell Season… More beautiful music to pursue, my friends…

And from the break up came Glen’s first solo record… and more music to add to your life’s playlist.

Glen has the gift of the gab, telling such meaningful stories and effortlessly waxing poetic about art and music and the creative process.  His was a lesson in how to pursue a career in the arts… how to stay inspired and how to be a true artist, and as these lessons almost always are… a guide to simply living a life filled with love and music.  It was a beautiful evening… one where we could have sat and listened to him talk all night.  But these programs have two parts… the chat and the music.

And so… moving to the holiest of holy guitars…

This Old Guitar

In front of a sold out crowd, including my buddies Rob, Alan and Jim… my friend Debbie from Northwestern… and right in front of me… the great Luc Robitaille and his family, the mad strumming began.  Glen’s voice is astounding, moving so easily from a raspy rage to the most lovely falsetto… His days spent busking are always evident in the power of his instruments… both voice and guitar.

He can draw in a crowd from a huge distance and then play so quietly, so poignantly…

The highlights of the evening were two songs from Once… “Say It To Me Now” into “Gold” and then the song that has been my constant companion for the last two weeks, “This Gift”, whose melody and lyrics have hit my very soul…

Here are two live versions of this thunderous song, including a special one with his niece Amy Hansard … and one at 3 Voor 12 Radio and some of the words for you to enjoy.

For anyone who doubts the universality and power of music… for anyone who questions whether or not music can truly touch your soul… go see Glen Hansard and listen to any music he is involved with.  Along with the 40-year flood, he has some 40-year songs… songs that you will keep close to your heart and turn to for comfort… songs that will feed and nourish you… songs that will last you a lifetime.

And if you see a musician on a corner “playing real good for free”… toss a coin or a bill into the case or the hat, and know that, that corner could be the start of something amazing… the training ground for glory… and something that will reward you even more down the line.

“If you’re strong enough
And you don’t give up
If you long enough
And you don’t give up

You’ll be no harbor to the sorrow
Just let it go.

Don’t hang your head in sorrow
Don’t give up just before you win
Don’t wait around for tomorrow
Open up your arms and let it in…”


1 Comment

Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

One response to “Powerful Words And Music At The Grammy Museum – Busking With Glen Hansard And One Holy Guitar

  1. He’s great. Saw him at the Hollywood Bowl two summers ago at the Joni Mitchell Jazz Tribute night. Here is a taste:

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