“This is a song about a man who tells the truth about things that didn’t happen.”

I was five feet away from Glen Hansard when he said that just before he belted out, “Lies,” at the Wiltern Theatre in LA last winter. It was an aspiring musician’s wet dream.

If you are looking for a show that will give you a kick in the seat of the trousers, I would keep an eye out for a tour by Glen and his band, the Swell Season, in the coming months. I discovered Glen and his Calvin and Hobbes dynamic with his co-writer and singer Marketa Irglova after seeing John Carney’s Irish indie film Once in 2007. The pair not only wrote and recorded all of the songs for the movie, but they star in it as well. Although extremely low-budget and shot on hand-held cameras in the streets of Dublin, the film holds a place as one of my top five favorite films of all time. It’s a story of boy meets girl (literally – the characters are never named except in the end credits, which slug them as “Guy” and “Girl”), but it’s a musician’s story. Glen Hansard basically plays himself at the time the film was made: a starving, haggard street musician with a gaping hole in the front of his guitar. Marketa Irglova plays a woman separated from her husband who only finds solace by playing piano in a pathetic music shop (which looks kind of like an Irish version of Guitar Center). They meet, write songs together, and then go their separate ways. Simple, but kaleidoscopic.

But why should you care about a couple of no-name, penniless buskers from a small corner of Ireland starring in a film with a plot that seems about as dry as a nun’s crotch? Well, I’ll tell you. In 2008, the duo took home the award for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards for “Falling Slowly,” the title track from Once They took off from there, embarking on a world tour as a new band, the Swell Season, and releasing a second album, Strict Joy, in October 2009.

I’ve seen the Swell Season in concert twice, last December at the Wiltern and this past summer at the Hollywood Bowl. When it comes to music, these two are true grit. I have never seen anyone in my entire life who loves music as much as Glen Hansard. He still plays with that same Takamine acoustic with the hole in it that he’s had since he was 14, and every note that comes out of it seems like it has been working itself out in his soul for just as long. He is an artist in every sense of the word.

If you have seen Once or have witnessed the Swell Season in all its glory live (especially if you were at the Wiltern last year and saw Glen play a surprise duet with Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You Man’s Jason Segel about Jason Segel’s wedding tackle) then print this blog out and tear it up. I will not pretend to be doing them justice (although, at least I’ve never told the joke that if they made a sequel to Once they would call it Twice….wait….). But if you have not, then rent the film and be on the lookout for a concert date in Los Angeles because I’m sure that the Swell Season will be coming soon. Oh, and still print this out and tear it up.

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