Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard, the Oscar-winning star of the 2007 movie musical “Once,” returns to New Orleans on Tuesday for an intimate performance at the Civic Theatre. The show will feature Hansard and a trio of musicians with whom he recorded his 2012 album, “Rhythm & Repose.”
Hansard’s multi-tiered career includes 25 years of leading one of Ireland’s most beloved bands, The Frames; his singing-acting performance in “Once” as a Dublin street musician; and his partnership with “Once” co-star Marketa Irglova in the duo The Swell Season.
In 2008, “Falling Softly,” a Hansard-Irglova song from “Once,” won the Oscar for best original song in a motion picture. The duo released its second album, “Strict Joy,” in 2009, and Hansard released his solo album debut, “Rhythm & Repose,” in 2012.
Hansard’s intimate, melancholy songs — be they solo, with The Frames or with The Swell Season — characteristically express longing lifted by hope.
Dublin born, Hansard and his signature musical intensity follows such heartfelt predecessors as Northern Ireland’s Van Morrison and Canada’s Leonard Cohen.
No matter what musical context he brings to New Orleans, Hansard said, the city always has received him warmly.
“The people are amazing,” he said last week. “They have welcomed me and The Frames and Swell Season over the years. There are a lot of reasons we keep coming back. The city has so much character. It’s been particularly amazing to see its perseverance through all that happened.”
For his 10-date North American winter tour, Hansard recruited “Rhythm & Repose” session players Brad Albetta, bass; Thomas Bartlett, keyboards; and Rob Moose, strings.
“Those guys are so talented and busy,” he said of the band. “I was fortunate enough to have them on my record. I thought it could be really fun to have them join me on this run. They were free, and so the plan came together.”
Hansard’s previous New Orleans performances include two appearances at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He played his own show on the Acura Stage one day and then joined Mavis Staples in the Gospel Tent the next.
Hansard participated in Staples’ performance of The Band’s “The Weight,” a tribute to Levon Helm, the singer and drummer in The Band who died days before his scheduled 2012 Jazz Fest appearance.
“Performing with Mavis — what an honor,” he recalled. “And I went to the Preservation Hall for the first time and just fell for the whole vibe and energy of it all.”
In November, Hansard again shared the stage with Staples. He, Aaron Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Gregg Allman, Taj Mahal, Jeff Tweedy, Joan Osborne, Emmylou Harris, Win Butler and Regine Chassagne from Arcade Fire and many more participated in an all-star 75th birthday tribute to Staples in Chicago.
“I was humbled to be asked and never lost sight of what an honor it was be in that room with her and so many amazing performers,” Hansard said. “Mavis is everything you could hope she would be — warm, friendly, gracious. And then when you think about all she’s done, all she’s seen, the history of music and politics and life, one night did not do it justice. We needed a week. Bonnie Raitt played den mother back stage. A special night, indeed.”