Surely Glen Hansard did not imagine, when he was a young man playing guitar in that fictitious band created for the film "The Commitments" (1991), that he would end up sharing the bill with American soul bands like St. Paul & The Broken Bones, heirs to the spirit of Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and all those musicians who inspired that film and supplied it with raw material. Nor that he would end up winning an Oscar decades later for one of his songs, and enjoying an internationally prestigious solo career.
Glen Hansard has always shown himself to be an advanced disciple of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen, a holy trinity he has evoked throughout his career, both with his group projects, The Frames and The Swell Season, and - above all - with an exceptional solo career that has led him to successes he probably never imagined when he was barely in his twenties playing guitar in that band, The Commitments, created by filmmaker Alan Parker for one of the best music-themed films in history. Winner of an Oscar for best song for "Falling Slowly" (2008), which he co-wrote with Markéta Irglová, he arrives at Noches del Botánico with a majestic fifth solo album, "All That Was East Is West of Me Now" (2023), which ranks among the best of his career.
The comfortable warmth and spirituality of the best southern soul is guaranteed to continue into the 21st century with bands like St. Paul and The Broken Bones. With a prestige that they have earned since they recorded their first album almost a decade ago at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals in their native Alamaba (birthplace of some of the best albums by Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett or Alicia Keys), the American octet led by the portentous voice of Paul Janeway has recently passed through the most desirable stage catwalks of the planet: festivals such as Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Newport, Roskilde or Rock en Seine have enjoyed their fiery and dedicated live performances. "Angels In Science Fiction" (2023) is their fifth and most recent album.