November, 2015 Archives


Words Cannot Express–But Thundercat Expresses in Instrumental Tribute Entitled “Paris”

by Lefort in Music

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Like many over the long weekend, we grappled with appropriate ways to express our feelings about the senseless attack on innocent people in Paris last Friday and other attacks elsewhere. And then, amongst all the hubris and harrow, we gave up on words.  As usual, music instead came to our aid.  Yesterday, one of our favorite new(-ish) artists, Thundercat (and Mono/Poly) released a short instrumental piece entitled Paris “in tribute to those who lost their lives….”  And it paid its way in peace.  Our thoughts and prayers to all those effected.


The Great Songs: “A Girl Called Johnny” by the Waterboys

by Lefort in Music

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Ireland’s Waterboys are among the greatest rock bands to come out of the Isles.  You could point to a thousand confirming facets, but this is the one that’s struck us when we went down the rabbit hole: A Girl Called Johnnyoff of their eponymous album debut in 1983 (before they would blow up with ’84’s Pagan Place and ’85’s This Is The Sea (now there’s a startlingly good three years and album trio).  A Girl Called Johnny was a tribute, as is much of post-1974 music, to Patti Smith, and a seminal rocker of extraordinary strength.  This one’s got both Mike Scott and Karl Wallinger (World Party, on piano).  Simply slaughtering while strutting.  Just like Patti.


Review and Pictures: Glen Hansard at Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA–The Last Will Be First

by Lefort in Music

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Glen Hansard is one of our favorite artists and live performers who always projects bounteous humanity into his performances.  Monday night at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, Hansard again proved that point all night.  Hansard’s tours of the US are entirely too infrequent so we jumped at the opportunity to catch him for the first time since he ripped the sky open at the 2012 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. On Monday, the meshing of Hansard and the intimate, sweet-sounding Walt Disney Concert Hall resulted in one of the best concerts of the year.

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Talented Aoife O’Donovan opened with a sonorous 30-minute set that meshed perfectly with the pin-drop acoustic surroundings.  O’Donovan’s set was capped off by Sara Watkins (violin) and Thomas Bartlett (piano) joining her (see photo below) for a  tremulous take on the title-track off her impending new album [In The] Magic Hour.

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Hansard then took the stage with six other musicians and opened with Grace Beneath The Pines (see video below), eventually being joined by three horn players spotlighted up in the small balcony way above the rear of the stage.  As he would do on several occasions this night, Hansard sang sans microphone and filled the Disney with his warm, powerful vocals.  The staging and attention to detail made the band’s sounds especially enthralling and made the Disney feel just that more intimate.  There was everything from deft pizzicato violin plucking, egg shakers, heavenly harmonies, the aforementioned horns and, of course, Hansard’s powerful and evocative vocals and songs.  On Winning Streak his ten-piece band performed particularly well, but the highlight of the night was the ferocious performance of When Your Mind’s Made Up (from the film Once).  Dazzling drummer Earl Harvin throttled the song to incredible heights while Hansard sang his soul off, and capped the song off with a perfectly timed leap and landing as the band brought the raging song to a sudden stop.  ‘Twas magic, as they say.  They followed with a powerful reading of another trademark Hansard song, Birds of Sorrow.

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Hansard is the consummate musical host, and on several songs he turned to the audience behind the stage to sing (to their obvious joy).  At one point he asked for the lights to come up to show the beauty of the Disney Hall and spotted a woman in a “black dress in the last row that was just clapping.”  Hansard counted the empty seats in the pit (16) and asked the black-dress woman to bring sixteen of her back-row-friends down to fill the empty pit seats.  And so the last became first.  It was yet another example of Hansard’s winning graciousness.  He also consistently involved the audience, requesting they vocally augment the songs in various ways (Back Broke was greatly enhanced thereby) and telling affecting stories throughout (his father’s drunk friends were dubbed “drunkles,” and he told of a friend briefly ruining songwriting for him by telling him that “songs are proof that love doesn’t work”).  Other highlights included McCormick’s Wall (featuring a vivid fiddle solo) and the new banger, Lowly Deserter (which he performed on Colbert’s show last week) that got the crowd onto its feet.

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Hansard and Rob Bochnik (Frames) dramatically began the first encore spotlit on the same upper rear balcony where the horns began, sans mics or amplification, on the song Say It To Me Now.  Hansard later brought out Aoife O’Donovan to assist on his treacly Once ballad Falling Slowly, and then brought the entire band (with Aoife, who killed it) to the front in a line to render a rousing accapella version of the standard The Auld Triangle.  He closed the encore with a winsome version of Her Mercy.  The second encore featured Philander followed by an everyman’s take of Leonard Cohen’s Passing Through (watch video below).

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As we said, Hansard never fails to give each show his all, and it was definitely the case at Disney Hall on Monday night.  Don’t miss any opportunity to catch his life-affirming concerts (go HERE to see the list of dates).


Grace Beneath the Pines
Winning Streak
My Little Ruin
When Your Mind’s Made Up
Back Broke
Bird of Sorrow
McCormack’s Wall
Lowly Deserter
Talking With the Wolves
High Hope
This Gift

First Encore:

Say It to Me Now
Falling Slowly
The Auld Triangle
Her Mercy

Second Encore:

Passing Through


Watch Aiofe O’Donovan Perform Title Track of New Album Unplugged–Catch Her On Tour Now with Glen Hansard

by Lefort in Music

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Just like the President of the United States, we are fans of Aiofe O’Donovan.  Ms. O’Donovan has a new album that will be released in January on Yep Roc entitled In The Magic Hour (produced by Tucker Martine and aided by Sara Watkins, Chris Thile, Sarah Jarosz and a host of others).  O’Donovan’s second album, In The Magic Hour was kindled by her Irish grandfather’s passing.  O’Donovan has described the album as “an ode to the cycle of life.”

To get a feel, you can watch O’Donovan below as she performs an unplugged version that captures well the format for her solo tour with Glen Hansard, which begins tonight in Los Angeles at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Donovan impresses here with her pure voice that, for us, combines elements of Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones and Sally Ellyson (of Hem).  High praise in our book.

Watch the acoustic performance below and check out O’Donovan’s tour dates at botttom.  Central Coasters take note: O’Donovan will headline at the Lobero Theater on February 26th.

You can pre-order the new album HERE.  Afterwards, watch the official video for the same song.


Aoife O’Donovan North American 2015 Tour Dates:
11/9 – Los Angeles, CA – Walt Disney Concert Hall *
11/10 – San Francisco, CA – The Masonic *
11/13 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom *
11/14 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre *
11/16 – Denver, CO – Paramount Theatre *
11/17 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater *
11/19 – Madison, WI – Orpheum Theatre *
11/20 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theatre *
11/21 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre *
11/23 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant *
11/24 – Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre *
11/25 – Atlanta, GA – Buckshead Theatre *
12/10 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom ^
12/11 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg ^

* With Glen Hansard
^ With I’m With Her, featuring Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz

North American Headlining 2016 Tour Dates:
2/19 – Denver, CO – Swallow Hill Music
2/20 – Boulder, CO – E-town
2/21 – Beaver Creek, CO – Vilar Performing Arts Center
2/22 – Phoenix, AZ – Musical Instrument Museum
2/24 – Los Angeles, CA – Largo
2/26 – Santa Barbara, CA – Lobero Theatre
2/27 – Carmel, CA – Folktale Winery
2/28 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
2/29 – Petaluma, CA – McNear’s Mystic Theatre
3/03 – Eugene, OR – The Shedd
3/04 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
3/05 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
3/06 – Seattle, WA – Columbia City Theater


Watch Glen Hansard on Colbert’s Late Show Last Night

by Lefort in Music

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The great Glen Hansard has just alighted in the US for a tour in support of his fantastic, critically-acclaimed new album Didn’t He Ramble.  Watch below as Hansard and crew laid it all out on Colbert’s Late Show last night.  With fantastic backing, Hansard emphatically delivered Lonely Deserter off the new album, proving yet again that he is one of the best live performers extant.

Hansard and ensemble play Walt Disney Concert Hall Monday night in LA, and the rest of the tour and tickets can be found HERE.  Don’t you miss it!


Watch Official Videos from Debut Solo Album “Courting the Squall” from Guy Garvey (Elbow)

by Lefort in Music

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We’ve made no bones about our adoration of the Mancunian band Elbow.  The last year-plus has been a prolific period for the band, but turns out Elbow’s band members had even more in the wings.  Leader Guy Garvey has just surfaced a critically-acclaimed (no shock there) album entitled Courting the Squall.   While the vocals remain the glorious same on the solo album, there are added musical flourishes, such as more horns, lutes, keys, beats and jazz elements.  Lyrically, Garvey remains his terse, poetic self.  The songs’ narratives naturally parallel Garvey’s personal life, including his split from a long-term love (as also heard on Elbow’s last album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything), and, apparently, his new-found love.  Suffice it to say, the album is completely grand.  Yet again. We expect nothing less from Guy Garvey.

To get a feel, check out below the official videos for the brooding title track and musically-grittier, ’60s film-soundtrack smack of Angela’s Eyes.  Superb stuff.

You can see his upcoming European tour dates and pick up Courting the Squall HERE.


Watch Glen Hansard Perform New Song “My Little Ruin” With a Big Band in a “Big Ruin”

by Lefort in Music

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One of our favorite live performers, Glen Hansard, has a new, critically-acclaimed album out entitled Didn’t He Ramble.  Hansard is touring in support of the new album, and we can’t wait to catch him a week from today at Walt Disney Concert Hall.  To get a feel for his live gestalt, watch Hansard’s newly-released video of his grand ensemble (string section, etc.) performing My Little Ruin (title derived from French film Les Dioboliques) in an abandoned house on North Great George’s Street in Dublin (the “Big Ruin”).  Check it out below.

To see the dates of Hansard’s impending US and UK tour and pick up tickets go HERE.