Biography by Jason Nickey
Bright Eyes is the musical vehicle of Conor Oberst, a young singer/songwriter from Nebraska who first attracted the attention of the indie music world in 1994 -- when he was just 14 years old -- as the singer and guitarist for Commander Venus. After releasing two albums, Commander Venus broke up, but not before the bandmembers started their own record label, Saddle Creek. Since then, Saddle Creek has served as the outlet for such bands as Cursive and Lullaby for the Working Class, as well as Oberst's project, Bright Eyes, of which he and guitarist/mixing engineer Mike Mogis are the two constant members. The rest of the instrumentation is taken care of by a rotating lineup of players, including fellow Saddle Creek-ers Andy LeMaster and Maria Taylor, although Oberst, as Bright Eyes, has been known to perform solo gigs. The band is anchored by the singer's frayed lyrics and his shivering, unnerving voice, both of which were displayed on the first two Bright Eyes albums, A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997 and Letting Off the Happiness, released in 1998, the latter recorded with help from members of Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal, among others. The EP Every Day and Every Night followed in 1999, and in mid-2000, Bright Eyes released the acclaimed Fevers and Mirrors; Oh Holy Fools then was issued a year later. Oberst took time to dedicate to his Desaparecidos project before returning to the studio in 2002. Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground was released that summer. In 2004, Bright Eyes released several EPs, including Home, Vol. 4, a collaboration with Spoon's Britt Daniel and One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels. Early the following year, Oberst returned with a pair of albums released on the same day: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (whose accompanying tour produced the Motion Sickness: Live Recordings disc) and the electronic-slanted Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, both of which did well in the independent scene. Hailed by some critics as the next Dylan, Oberst set about writing the next set of Bright Eyes songs. Recorded in L.A., Chicago, New York, Omaha, and Portland, OR, Cassadaga was then released in the spring of 2007, followed by a nationwide tour.
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