Great Royal Marsden Charity Event

  Jeff Lynne’s ELO 2020 Tour

  Download 2020 Latest Acts

  Noah Gundersen Live

  David Gilmour’s Interview

  Choose The Best Guitar +

  Gill Landry’s Latest LP

  My Favourite Albums 2019

  Snow Patrol Live in Manchester

  New Model Army Live

  Shakespears Sister Live

  Nick Cave GHOSTEEN – New LP

  Lamb Live in Manchester

  The Struts Live

  Download 2020 Headliners

  Jeff Buckley Grace 25th Birthday

  Remastered Archive Live Jazz

  Camden Rocks 2019 - Day 2

  Camden Rocks 2019 - Day 1

  Sting & Shaggy Live

  Blancmange & Bernholz Live

  Ana Popovic, Lynne Jackaman Live

  Overseas Music Festivals 2019

  David Gray Live in Liverpool

  The Slow Readers Club Live

  Isreal Nash & Joana Serrat Live

  Karine Polwart Trio Live

  Spear Of Destiny Live

  Benjamin Folke Thomas Live

  Chilly Gonzales Live

  Gomez Live in Manchester

  John Lennon Interview

  Anna Burch Live

  My 100 Greatest Albums

  Ray LaMontagne Live

  Satriani’s G3 Live

  Stick In The Wheel Live

  Halo Maud, Baxter Dury Live

  Matthew Logan Vasquez Live

  The Barr Brothers Live

  Emily Barker Live in Manchester

  Katey Brooks New Single/Album

  Jim White Live in Manchester

  Tori Amos Live

  Bush & RavenEye Live

  Grandaddy Live

  Laura Marling Live

  Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes

  Martha Wainwright Live

  A Thousand Horses Live

  Rachael Yamagata Live

  Jimmy Eat World Live

  Beverley Knight Live

  Ludovico Einaudi Live

  Courtney Barnett Live

  Mercury Rev Live

  Roger Waters on Amused To Death

2019 Singer/Songwriter LPs


Glen Hansard THIS WILD WILLING. Plateau/ANTI

I first played this album in my car a when I had great difficulty in listening to it. A few days later I played it on my decent quality audio equipment and was surprised to find the same sound quality. With all the artist’s past recordings in solo, duet and band guise I have never experienced this before and certainly not with David Odlum at the production helm. Now this problem did not appear with all tracks but primarily with some of the heavily instrumental ones (which must have been difficult to record). I then set about checking other album reviews and not one mentioned this problem.

However, it also became clear that all reviewers felt that this amongst Hansard’s best work, and I tend to agree. No other singer/songwriter writes and performs with such passion, expression and gut-wrenching emotion. And it’s all here from the first track to the last. ‘I’ll Be You, Be Me’ opens slowly with Hansard in whispering, intimate mode before thee instrumental cacophony  enters to end the song in a crushing climax. ‘Don’t Settle’ is next and opens in the slow, deliberate whispering way with keyboard dominating the instrumental introduction. The melody is typically strong, the lyrics poetic and heart-breaking: “When you climbed the hill of vision/As above so it was below/Through the apathy and derision/Each step ascending you took alone/And when they pin you in the corner/Pay no heed to their droning on/’Cause you’re not going back where you belong.” Eventually the whispered vocal changes to an angry and emotional journey as the instruments step up several gears. The final climax is Hansard at his pleading, angry and passionate best and has to be heard to be believed. It’s stunning and I feel privileged to have witnessed this exhibition of raw power and passion live many times.

‘Fool’s Game’ follows so closely that it could easily be mistaken as a continuation of the previous song, it even sounds similar. The vibe is contemplative, quiet, sincere, and true. The melody is strong while Hansard delivers another set of beautiful lyrics: “It’s a leap of faith/Lover, that we blindly take/I’m taking it with you and no other/No hesitating.” The song for me is one of the album’s major highlights with its crushing middle rush and, for the first time, Hansard’s falsetto moments. Hell, it’s  masterpiece.

‘Race To The Bottom’ sounds as though Hansard’s hushed vocal is too close to the recording mic but the effect is to make this one of the most intimate songs here. ‘The Closing Door’ opens with a collection of threatening, dark instrumental moments and continues with some distinctly Eastern influenced sounds. ‘Brother’s Keeper’ is like a sonic cloud has lifted. The sounds of clean guitar riffs and piano together with a more restrained Hansard vocal, gathering pace and a very strong melody render this as a potential radio single.

‘Mary’ hustles along in mid-tempo with distinct hints of a country/folk vibe. Again the sounds are clear and defined with clarity in the separation of instruments and vocal. The strings which enter eventually hint strongly at an Eastern influence. ‘Weight Of The World’ opens in barely audible sounds with Hansard’s soft and intimate vocal eventually emerging while instrumentals are impossibly subtle. Fragmented and distant piano notes add much poignancy to the song’s deeply private and personal vibe. A more traditional folk vibe dominates ‘Who’s Gonna Be Your Baby Now’ as the song trundles along with distant orchestral sounds and another whispered vocal. ‘Leave A Light’ completes the album on a distinctly Celt folk style with lyrics to match: “And leave a light on in your lonely window/And a heartfelt welcome in your eye/From far away on a deep, black ocean/You’re the one I’ll come back to find.”

Hansard has created his finest and most adventurous work to date, and with two distinctive sonic halves. However, the Hansard fingerprint is all over this record: the expressive vocals going from whispered to angry desperation; the huge building climaxes; the meaningful, accessible and often poetic lyrics; the live and communicative ambience; the musical integrity and passion; the melodic strength; the independent and distinctive attitude. It’s all here in abundance. Now this is extraordinary for a man who has been making great music since the late 80s. While I may question some of the audio quality here this does not diminish the masterpieces that are exposed in the CD’s grooves.  The record reveals more of itself with every listen, and, yes, it deserves every accolade going. Potentially album of the year - without question.


Page: 1 2 3 4


Shakenstir Photo Supplement
SWN Tour 2009  - Gallery: The Joy Formidable
The Joy Formidable

Chester - Gallery: Tom Blackwell 2020
Tom Blackwell 2020 Chester 2020 - Gallery: Gill Landry
Gill Landry
Shakenstir - Homepage Links Reviews Live Interviews Features News Contact Gallery Shakenstir - Homepage