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Glen Hansard Dusts Off His Rollicking Side In 'Wheels On Fire'

Glen Hansard's new album, <em>Between Two Shores</em>, comes out Jan. 19.
Dara Munnis
Courtesy of the artist
Glen Hansard's new album, Between Two Shores, comes out Jan. 19.

Glen Hansard's seen it all: decades of cult fame with the Irish rock band The Frames, movie appearances in Once and The Commitments, and even an Academy Award for "Falling Slowly," the signature ballad he recorded with his Swell Season partner, Marketa Irglova. In recent years, Hansard has spun off a solo career by releasing a pair of low-key solo albums, each of which showcases his gift for restrained, elegant uplift.

In January, Hansard will release a new, self-produced solo record called Between Two Shores, which expands his solo palette nicely. Its first single, last month's "Time Will Be the Healer," sticks to the elegant uplift, but the new "Wheels on Fire" looses a rollicking side to go with a rich infusion of horns and organs. Directing his hope and optimism toward defiance against unnamed leaders — "I won't be no puppet on a string," he seethes — Hansard conjures an infectious and welcome dose of fists-up intensity.

Between Two Shorescomes out Jan. 19 via Anti.

Between Two Shores Tracklist

1. "Roll On Slow"
2. "Why Woman"
3. "Wheels on Fire"
4. "Wreckless Heart"
5. "Movin' On"
6. "Setting Forth"
7. "Lucky Man"
8. "One of Us Must Lose"
9. "Your Heart's Not in It"
10. "Time Will Be the Healer"

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)