Bright Eyes Biography

Review The Artist (34)

Bright Eyes-photo
Once tagged "rock's boy genius" by the music press, Conor Oberst turned 27 on February 15th and even without that in mind it's hard to listen to Cassadaga without hearing a newfound sophistication to the Bright Eyes sound. Producer, multi-instrumentalist and permanent band member Mike Mogis has crafted a swirling, euphonious record, at times bursting with bombastic confidence and country swagger, and at others loose-limbed and mesmeric. Trumpet and piano player Nate Walcott, a Bright Eyes player since 2003 and now the third permanent member, is responsible for the cinematic string arrangements.

Other than a handful of live appearances and the release of a collection of B-sides & rarities, Bright Eyes kept mostly out of sight in 2006 after the busy 2005 which saw the simultaneous release of the sister albums Digital Ash In A Digital Urn and I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. Should you have looked for them you'd have found them tucked away in various studios around the country. Recording for the first time outside of the Lincoln, NE studio belonging to Mogis, the Bright Eyes cast of players were busy in studios in Portland, OR, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. The result is the band's most confident work so far, an album so full of soaring strings and female harmonies that it feels almost buoyant in comparison to previous releases. While many latched onto the smattering of political commentary in 2005's I'm Wide Awake..., Cassadaga is less blunt in its depiction of youthful exasperation in the Bush era. References to Hurricane Katrina, holy wars and polar ice-caps may crop up, but they're buried deep amongst the ruminations on life, love, history, death and the afterlife.

If I’m Wide Awake... was "the New York City album", then Cassadaga is "the America album", in which Oberst diaries his travels around the country and articulates his sense of history in the landscape. In first single "Four Winds" he is "off to old Dakota where genocide sleeps/in the Black Hills, the Badlands, the calloused East/I buried my ballast, I made my peace." Cassadaga itself crops up in the same song. The town, a community for psychics in central Florida, is visited in order to "commune with the dead". This wandering spirit is crystalized in "I Must Belong Somewhere" a song which was already a staple of live shows by the end of the 2005. "Hot Knives" is particularly spirited, bringing to mind the true energy of a Bright Eyes show. Likewise, "Soul Singer In A Session Band" - a rousing paean to an oxymoronic profession - enlists all of the elements which make the Bright Eyes live band such a euphoric experience. "Make A Plan To Plan To Love Me" is Bright Eyes at their most playful; a straight-up love song, replete with girl group vocals and Burt Bacharach strings. Oberst, the fumbling guitarist whose impassioned prose tumbles out under stark stage spotlights, is still recognizable in every track, but the songs are rich with elaborate production, cinema-sized orchestration and, at times, sprawling, almost psychedelic, atmospherics.

The line up of Bright Eyes players includes Andy LeMaster (Now It's Overhead), Ben Kweller, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Janet Weiss (ex-Sleater Kinney), Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley), John McEntire (Tortoise) M.Ward, Maria Taylor and Rachael Yamagata.

Thanks to Christina for submitting the biography.

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abandonment | Reviewer: ron haynes | 1/10/13

I stopped playing music for two reasons. Bright eyes and between the buried and me. I knew that I'd never accomplish anything that would make me feel as good or be as content with what I'm hearing then when those two bands are playing. So writing/playing music your not happy with gets old fast.

*sigh of relief* | Reviewer: kate | 1/7/08

Non-pretentious, breathtakingly honest, conor's music gives us hope that not all the music of our generation is flat and inevitably forgetable. I suppose all I can say is he who has found bright eyes has found a treasure.

. | Reviewer: jason | 1/3/08

coner has probably been one of the most important bands i have ever discoverd. his lyrics are constatly condridicting with its ironys and oxymorons which make you acutually listen to whats being said instead of just listening to the melody. his music is very easy to relate to with his songs covering the entire spectrum of life to hanging in the gallows of alchoholic depression to the absolute endearment of love and romance. his music is raw and pashionate something that is shunned by modern "pop-music". this makes for a band that that many feel special to have in thier repetoire. although it has to be said that as you go into the back catalouge of is albums it can take a while to adjust to but but when you do it feels as if you've discovered gem and you will always hold close to you. in short bright eyes is one of the bands that you will always hold dear to you.

Unbelievable | Reviewer: Lexa | 11/16/07

I started off listening to classic rock when I was young but in the thousands of bands I have listened to no one has ever made me feel and relate to music like Conor Oberst has. His music has the ability to make me laugh and cry on command. If I ever write a piece of poetry as beautiful or as powerful as his I will truly have accomplished something. Music is just as much lyrics as it is sounds. Bright Eyes is amazing.

Incredible. | Reviewer: A New Day | 10/28/07

It's amazing how conor can project his emotions verbally. Not just screaming into the microphone.
He's imagination is at an immeasurable level and he's intelligent enough to make sense of it.
It's the tune, the lyrics, the unqiue voice and the man behind the micorphone that creates each song with meaning.
By far one of the best bands in the world.

Bright Eyes | Reviewer: Rae | 10/20/07

Bright Eyes is one of the most influencial bands I've ever listened to. Conor is a huge inspiration to myself and many other aspiring songwriters/musicians all over the world.
I haven't been disappointed by one of Oberst's albums yet. And each upcoming album is a joy to wait for because you know it won't disappoint you.
But if you're an upcoming Bright Eyes fan, I suggest you start from his very first album/demo and make your way up. It's been extremely fun to watch Conor Oberst mature and grow with his music.

Good music is a rarity these days. | Reviewer: Leslie | 10/13/07

Bright eyes has been a wonderful companion of mine for a couple of years now and I am so thankful that such a gift has been shared with the world. What ability to be able to convert emotion into words. Conor Oberst is a genius.

Visionary, prophetic. and evolving !!! | Reviewer: Brett Summey | 10/2/07

Conner Oberst, teamed w mogis and nate walcott , are a rarity that comes along every 40 years. (Dylan) For those that don't get it, good, one less waisted tickets. For the others that are deeply touched and awed by his heart felt lyrics i relate. For years i never thoguht someone as relevant and thought provoking would enter into my life. I just back from seeing a few shows in Europe and had the pleasure to meet Conner and Mike. Two of the most kind and gentle guys you could meet. There warmth radiated ! I'm from nc, but flew out this weekend to see the L. A. show. Completley mind blowing !!! I want try and describe it because i can't, but for the people who truely appreciate his art and evolution as an artist, i have an amazing tape of the show. And i love the fact Conner doesn't care, or i wouldn't tape. (have somebody tape) I could write and write lyrics that are special to me and compleltey touch my heart but haven't got the time. I will say this, the song he encored in L.A. june, 29, at the Hollywood bowl is musically mind blowing and lrically astounding. He comes out swinging about poverty, katrina, and war , but most people just hear a loud song with a ripping solo by Mogis. Check song out on utube or i'll have it posted on my page soon ! love and mercies to all ! Brett

oh my god! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/2/07

bright eyes is the most amazing band EVER! i dont know how i ever lived without conor oberst's beautiful songs! i just started listening to bright eyes like 3 months ago, but i have totally fallen in love. i didnt know that music could mean so much to me. conor is such a beautiful songwriter, and bright eyes music is very close to my heart:)

and i dont even have all of their cds yet! im getting lifted tomorrow, cannot wait!!!!

Let's Not Shit Ourselves!!! | Reviewer: Jo$hy | 9/23/07

Without a doubt,There's no one,and I mean,no one who can even come close to the genious musial virtuoso Oberst,I mean,Has anyone lived at all?
Most of the verses people don't quite understand is simply because they haven't gone through a couple of life's events,but when they come,They will realize how Oberst Premeditaded Their entire reaction before it even happened.
I would like to leave them with a quote,

" Now a mother takes loans out, sends her kids off to colleges.
Her family's reduced to names on a shopping list.
While, a coroner kneels beneath a great, wooden crucifix.
He knows there's worse things than being alone.
And so I've learned to retreat at the first sign of danger.
I mean, why wait around, if it's just to surrender?
An ambition, I've found, can lead only to failure.
I do not read the reviews.
No, I am not singing for you."

Take That,Anomymous!

Conor the next elliott smith? | Reviewer: nick | 9/22/07

I think this writer is incredible, I just got into him now and he reminds me a lot of elliott smith, my favorite artist. Its amazing how the best writers can entertain so many with just there voice and guitar. Do you guys think conor is the next elliott smith?

Bright Eyes | Reviewer: morgg | 8/14/07

there arent words that come close to describing Conor. and for those who think he is complaining in the lyrics, he doesnt say anything like hes complaining. he says what he feels, but he says it in a way that makes you want to hear more. hes been through everything he writes about, he knows what its like. the emotion he puts into each song is even better. i fully respect conor, hes amazing. he makes every word flawless without even trying. there arent many people like him. i dont think anyone could ever replace him. i cant explain how much i love the lyrics of each song and just him.

rather brave | Reviewer: Martyr | 8/12/07

In today's world, you can hardly say anything without getting sued, or getting banned. Which is why i consider Conor Oberst as a "Lyrical Vision"

With such quotes as "The bibles blind, the Torahs deaf, and the Q'urans mute. If you burn them all together you get close to the truth." -Four Winds
Oberst is able to express practically ANY thoughts and emotions, without being considered obscene or politically incorrect.

One day i wish to find his secret to expressing my thoughts, and making it sound good, and not being arrested, or shunned by a certain group or authority...


Invisible | Reviewer: Mickey | 7/19/07

Conor writes beautiful words but the delivery is what makes it so emotional. He knows what he's talking about he's felt it before. He's not whining he's teaching. He might not change the world, but he might spark the mind who will. I don't know how many people who review on this page are musicians or even over 16 years old but bright eyes are some of the greatest musicians not only of our generation. There's certain bands that push that limit and they've done that. As a struggling musicians it bums me out cause I know not only will I never be able to reach that level but I could never be the one to take it one up. I understand if you don't like bright eyes cause it's just not your type of tunes but no one has the right to say they suck. As many different types of music I listen to and bands I enjoy, as of right now no one could even touch Bright Eyes.

Bright Eyes | Reviewer: Niklas Nilsson | 7/6/07

I simply love Bright Eyes. Conor Oberst is such a humble person from everything I've read. I can relate to some of the songs he's written.
The most amazing thing about him is that he has the ability to put down his thoughts on paper and create a unique song about it. I believe alot of us lacks that and I admire him because of that.

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