swell season 300x250 Once Again: Couple Split, But Music LivesRemember Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the movie “Once“? They starred in the hit film together, won an Oscar for Best Song, had a bestselling soundtrack. They even got together in real life. It seems so long ago now, 2007. Time flies!

Well, they’re back, only they split as a couple. Glen tells me they’re “just friends.” They’re now called The Swell Season. They’re sort of like Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. And they’ve got a new, terrific album called “Strict Joy.” The first single should be a hit if, you know, radio stations still played music by people over 12. It’s called “Low Rising.” Here’s the video.

“Strict Joy” is almost all original material. But come on, they’re Irish ‘ they had to cover Van Morrison. And so “Into the Mystic” gets treated reverentially at first, and then it soars. Hansard is a stirring Irish vocalist, as Irish vocalists can be. Marketa makes a perfect counterpoiut.

No, they don’t have the hook of a new film. I joked with Glen they should have called the new album “Once Again.” But they’re trying to move on. Let’s move on with them!

The Swell Season tour kicks off tonight in Mesa, Arizona.

By the way, despite the “Once” soundtrack being on Sony/Epic, Glen decided to leave the big label world. The Swell Season is signed to hot indie label, Anti. What are they Anti? You can guess.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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