Glen Hansard: Didn’t He Ramble

Blockbusting Irish rover finds his solo voice.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

You can’t always get a point across with overblown posturing, or by bellowing bug-eyed through a mic. Anyone who’s seen the blockbusting Commitments- and Once-star Glen Hansard live knows this, as the modern-day Irish troubadour is wont to abandon amplification entirely and turn up the emotion acoustically or a cappella, even in venues such as The Barbican.

Didn’t He Ramble is teeming with quietly stirring stuff ripe for this sort of interpretation and a leap on from 2012’s introverted break-up memoir Rhythm And Repose.

In line with inspirations Van Morrison and The Band, Hansard’s take on folk, blues and soul music is honest and poetic, testified in a characteristic whisper-to-a-roar confessional wail. But it’s the string and brass arrangements that makes Ramble so sublime, particularly the Stones-esque raw gospel balladry of Her Mercy, My Little Ruin and the almost (early) Chicago-like Just To Be The One.

“One would hope that through all of this that you find your voice,” Hansard says of his emotional, spiritual and musical journey to complete this record. He’s succeeded. Ramble on, indeed.

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.