Bright Eyes are back. After a 9 year hiatus, Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott, have re-grouped to record and tour in 2020. The beloved band, whose previous nine albums are some of the most lauded and influential records of a generation, last released a new LP, The People’s Key, in 2011 followed by a remastered box set collection of their work in 2016. But, in 2019, the acclaimed trio returned to the studio to quietly begin work on new material.
Late 2019 marked their signing to esteemed indie Dead Oceans. On adding Bright Eyes to their already formidable roster of artists, Dead Oceans co-founder Phil Waldorf says: ”Bright Eyes is not just a formative artist for me personally, but for countless people who work at Dead Oceans. To get to work with a band that is part of our own origin stories in falling in love with music is the rarest of privileges. We are thrilled to be part of another great chapter in Bright Eyes enduring legacy.”
Mar 23 Tokyo, Japan Liquidroom
May 21 Los Angeles, CA Palladium #
May 22 Los Angeles, CA Palladium
Jun 20 Queens, NY Forest Hills Stadium +
Sep 3-6 Salisbury, UK End Of The Road Festival
# Lavender Diamond supports
+ Japanese Breakfast and Lucy Dacus support
The year 2020 is full of significant anniversaries for Bright Eyes. Fevers and Mirrors was released 20 years ago this May, while Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning both turned 15 in January. The latter, a singer-songwriter tour-de-force released amidst the Bush presidency and Iraq war, wades through incisive anti-war rhetoric and micro, intimate calamities. On the title track and throughout the record, Oberst sings about body counts in the newspaper, televised wars, the bottomless pit of American greed, struggling to understand the world alongside one’s own turmoil. In its own way, I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning carved out its place in the canon of great anti-war albums by being both present and prophetic, its urgency enduring 15 years later.
Bright Eyes’ expansive catalog has traversed genre, sound, and countless players; unpolished demos or fuzzy folk, electrified rock or country twang. The sharp songwriting and musicianship is all anchored in Bright Eyes’ singular ability to flip deep intimacy into something universal. For so many, for so long, listening to Bright Eyes has been like hearing yourself in someone else’s song – a moment of understanding or illumination, knowing you’re on the same team looking for a way to move through of all this shit.
And while 2020 is a year of milestones for the band, it’s also the year Bright Eyes returns, newly signed to indie label Dead Oceans. Amidst the current overwhelming uncertainty and upheaval of global and personal worlds, Oberst, Mogis, and Walcott reunited under the moniker as both an escape from, and a confrontation of, trying times. Getting the band back together felt right, and necessary, and the friendship at the core of the band has been a longtime pillar of Bright Eyes’ output. For Bright Eyes, this long-awaited re-emergence feels like coming hom