There's a logic and satisfaction to fixing things you could never get from songwriting." Hardly a sentiment one might anticipate from a singer-songwriter whose new solo album, Didn't He Ramble, might just be his most personal, and loveliest, yet; but Hansard is nothing if not a plain speaker. "Songs are these weird, ethereal things – like birds that land in the garden you try to coax into the room.
"Eddie made me feel slightly less self-conscious about it," he says.
"I'm grateful for that." Hansard and Vedder became friends in unlikely, and tragic, circumstances.
A while after the Oscars, Hansard was playing an outdoor auditorium near San Francisco.
People told me later that he might have been aiming for me." Vedder read about the incident, which reminded him of a similar accident that had affected him.
In 2000, during a Pearl Jam performance at the Roskilde music festival near Copenhagen in Denmark, eight fans were crushed to death in the crowd (a ninth died later in hospital).
Cillian Murphy had signed on to appear alongside a 19-year-old newcomer, Czech musician Marketa Irglova; Hansard would write the songs. "Cillian doesn't like me saying this, but he had reservations about some of my songs. But, then, the character was pretty dark." With Murphy gone, the funding disappeared, and the project seemed doomed.