Glen Hansard – Didn't He Ramble
Didn’t He Ramble is Glen Hansard’s second solo release, but far from his second outing. He’s recorded with The Frames and The Swell Season before – and even won an Academy Award for the soundtrack to Irish heartstring-tugger Once, in which he also starred. All of this goes some way to explain why Didn’t He Ramble feels so comfortable, so familiar: Hansard clearly knows what he likes, and he’s gotten extremely good at putting that down on record.
There are few surprises here. Predictable in structure, in carefully crafted nostalgia and even in rhyme scheme, the album apes those dusty roads of Springsteen and co. without changing the game. It doesn't really matter, though, because Hansard’s earnest delivery and the occasional big band burst of brass is truly heartwarming.
Produced by Thomas Bartlett (The National, Sufjan Stevens), on slow-burners like McCormack’s Wall there’s a real weathered melancholia, of wintery nights of storytelling, lost loves and half-drunk pints. On a scale of sentimentality from zero to rom com, you can pin tracks like Wedding Ring and Lowly Deserter at the very top – but sometimes that’s just what you need.