On Between Two Shores, Hansard accomplishes that rare feat of mixing loose and tender vibes with poignant lyrical precision. “Lucky Man” sways with a slow rolling and gentle touch, while “Movin’ On” is the sort of contemplated acoustic guitar-anchored kiss-off of which Hansard is a master. Hansard brushes off any praise for his craft. Ask him about his songwriting process and he’ll say his principal duty is to stay out of a song’s way.
“Oftentimes you’re not trying to write great music or write great lyrics,” he says. “You’re just trying to make something that marries the two.” Over more than 25 years as a professional musician – with stints in acclaimed bands including the Swell Season, with Markéta Irglová, and the Frames before going solo – Hansard has found that losing one’s sense of ego is paramount to creating meaningful work. Rolling Stone Magazine
First Aid Kit
First Aid Kit, Swedish Indie-Folkers, Return With R.E.M.’s Guitarist
Like Brits did with U.S. punk, Swedes Klara and Johanna Söderberg repurposed Davis Sisters-style country harmony on their 2012 breakthrough “Emmylou” into a bright new thing, laying into notes like they were tunnel-boring through glaciers. Producing their fourth set, folk-rock impressionist Tucker Martine (Neko Case, My Morning Jacket, Sufjan Stevens, the Decemberists) helps shape a dreamy grandeur, with touches of pedal steel and Peter Buck’s guitar atmospherics, while a damaged romance bleeds across a widescreen America – it’s like a Sergio Leone film starring Lana Del Rey, doubled. At times, the musical ornamentation feels too much. But when those two voices combine, it all falls away. Rolling Stone Magazine