This new EP from Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard had its birth in his friendships and musical collaborations with Eddie Vedder and Jake Clemons, the nephew of Clarence Clemons. Bruce Springsteen’s “Drive All Night” played a recurring part in those relationships, including a performance of the song on stage with all hands on deck a few days after Clarence Clemons died. Both Vedder and Clemons again lend a hand on this version, along with producer Joe Henry and his studio crew, and the result is a soulful reading that, driven by the sax of the Big Man’s nephew and exhibiting Henry’s characteristic resonant ambiance, ends up on a corner where the Boss and Van Morrison meet. The EP is fleshed out by three songs; two come from the sessions for Hansard’s 2012 solo debut, and both are of a piece with what ended up on that album in their slow-rolling, somber ache. But the closing song, “Step Out of the Shadows,” is two minutes of sheer a cappella beauty that evokes another powerful, if lesser- known, musical force, Australia’s Paul Kelly. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL "Drive All Night"