Bright Eyes is an American indie rock band founded by singer-songwriter and guitarist Conor Oberst. It 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 scen
Bright Eyes is signed to Saddle Creek Records, a Nebraska-based label founded by Conor Oberst’s brother Justin Oberst and Bright Eyes member Mike Mogis
Oberst began committing his new repertoire to tape in his parents’ basement with his father’s four track cassette recorder and an acoustic guitar.
In mid-1993, Oberst self-released his debut album Water on cassette tape. The release of the album was financed by his brother Justin on what they called Lumberjack Records, the indie label that would become Saddle Creek Records, making them founders and present day executives of the label.
Shortly after his two solo recordings, Oberst began playing with four friends; they formed Commander Venus in mid-1995
Oberst founded Bright Eyes as a solo project in 1995, and after the disbanding of Commander Venus, released A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997 in January 1998. This was followed quickly by Letting Off the Happiness, released in November of the same year. It featured members of numerous bands and was recorded in the Oberst family basement. One year later, Bright Eyes released its first EP, Every Day and Every Night. Bright Eyes’ third album, Fevers and Mirrors was released in May 2000; it was ranked 170 on Pitchfork‘s list of the top 200 albums of the 2000s.
With the release of 2002’s Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, Bright Eyes received national attention and Oberst was proclaimed a breakthrough artist by several notable magazines. On January 25, 2005 Bright Eyes simultaneously released two new albums: the folk I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and more electronic-pop Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. Time listed I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morningas one of the top ten albums of 2005.
The Four Winds EP was released in March 2007, followed by their seventh album, Cassadaga in April. The song “Four Winds” was named a top 100 song of 2007 by Rolling Stone. Oberst spent the next two years focusing on other music projects, and in June 2009 told Rolling Stone he wanted to make one final album with Bright Eyes before retiring the group. The band subsequently released The People’s Key on Conor’s 31st birthday, February 15, 2011.