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Conor Oberst

Posted in MusicWorld on March 9, 2005 by

Conor Oberst, the 24-year-old wunderkind and brainchild behind Bright Eyes, already has seven Bright Eyes albums under his belt at his still-tender age. Blessed with an ability to get deep under the skin of post-adolescent angst within mature musical compositions, he has become a darling of the young set while catching the ears of older listeners and fellow artists. In short, he is a great American songwriter in the making.

Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, which he has helped become a new musical hotspot through his work and that of his collaborators and compatriots, Oberst started writing songs at the age of 12. Working on a four-track recorder in the basement of his family house, he released the first of two albums by his first band, Commander Venus, by the next year, catching the attention of the indie rock scene.

Shifting his vehicle of expression to Bright Eyes, which features a rotating cast of players on albums released on Saddle Creek, the label started by his brother, Oberst has enjoyed ever-increasing critical acclaim and a rapidly growing base of fans.

In recent years, the prolific Oberst has pursued a dizzying range of collaborations and side projects as well as releasing albums and EPs with Bright Eyes. His latest triumph is the simulataneous release of two albums: the songwriter-oriented collection I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning , on which he shares vocals with Emmylou Harris, and the more rocking and electronic Digital Ash in a Digital Urn , which features a cameo appearance by Nick Zinner of modern rock darlings The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

"A theme that runs through a lot of my stuff is I believe there's a kind of salvation through music and love and that kind of stuff," explains Oberst. "Even when I'm writing what is a pretty depressing number, I try to sew some silver lining into it."