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Bright Eyes Biography

Home > Music > B > Bright Eyes > Biography

Birth Place: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Years Active: 1995 – present
Genres: Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Alternative Country

Bright Eyes is an American indie/folk band founded by singer-songwriter and guitarist Conor Oberst and consists of Oberst, multi-instrumentalist and producer Mike Mogis, trumpet and piano player Nate Walcott, and a rotating lineup of collaborators drawn primarily from Omaha's indie music scene.

Bright Eyes is signed to Saddle Creek Records, a Nebraska-based label founded by Conor and his brother Justin Oberst and distributed by Sony Corporation.

In 1998, Conor Oberst released 20 of the songs he had been stockpiling as the first official Bright Eyes album, “A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997.” he album saw Oberst beginning to experiment with drum machines, keyboards and other instruments. The sound of the album ranges from bleating vocals to acoustic guitar songs and techno-style synthesizer instrumentals.

In November 1998, Saddle Creek released “Letting Off the Happiness,” a ten-track album that boasted a more focused and clearer sound than the previous album. It featured members of Lullaby for the Working Class, Neutral Milk Hotel, and of Montreal. Although almost all of the tracks feature a full band, "June on the West Coast" is performed with only acoustic guitar and vocals. "Padraic My Prince" gives a dramatic fictional account of the death of his baby brother, a story with a multitude of symbolic meanings. Oberst references the song in "Cartoon Blues" on the “Four Winds” EP.

In November 1999, Bright Eyes released the five-song “Every Day and Every Night” EP, which included "Neely O'Hara" and "A Perfect Sonnet." In 2000, Bright Eyes released “Fevers and Mirrors,” with new instruments such as the flute, piano, and accordion introduced into the song arrangements.

Their next album, “Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground” was released in 2002. Upon its release Bright Eyes became one of the year's most celebrated "new" artists, despite having been recording under that moniker for a few years.

During the 2004 election season, Bright Eyes toured with Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M. on the Vote for Change tour, further pushing Bright Eyes into the public eye. Oberst sang numerous duets with the likes of Springsteen and Neil Young.

In November 2004, two Bright Eyes singles, "Lua" and "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)", reached the two top spots on the Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales. This was the first time this had happened on the list in seven years.

January 2005 saw the release of two distinctly different Bright Eyes albums, the folk-influenced “I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning” and the electronic-pop inflected “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn.” By the end of January 2005, “I'm Wide Awake” was at #10 on the Billboard charts while “Digital Ash” was at #15. Later in the year, the live album “Motion Sickness” was released, documenting the “I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning” tour.

In October 2006, a compilation of rare tracks entitled” Noise Floor (Rarities: 1998-2005)” was released. Bright Eyes released the “Four Winds” EP in March 2007, featuring the first single and their seventh studio album “Cassadaga” in April 2007.

Saddle Creek Records reissued their Neva Dinova split “One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels” in March 2010 with four brand-new songs recorded in late 2009. The band's album titled “The People's Key” was released in February 2011, reaching #13 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart.