What did Bright Eyes contribute to music?
American indie rock band Bright Eyes was founded by Conor Oberst, a singer, song writer, and guitarist. The other permanent band members included Mike Mogis (who played various instruments and was a producer), and Nate Walcott (trumpet and piano player). Bright Eyes also had a variety of collaborators who worked with them, especially in the early days of the band.
Surprisingly, Bright Eyes's home base was a place which is not primarily known for its indie rock scene: Omaha, Nebraska. In fact, they became part of the Saddle Creek Records label, a Nebraska-based company which was founded by Justin Oberst, Conor's brother, and band member Mike Mogis.
In 1998, Conor Oberst's first band, Commander of Venus, had disbanded, and he released 20 or so songs he had been holding back for a new venture. These songs comprised the first Bright Eyes album. The offering was met with underwhelming and even critical reviews, but the band's next release, also in 1998, was a better collection of songs and was much better received.
In 2002, though the band had been working for years by this time,
Bright Eyes became one of the year's most celebrated "new" artists.
It wasn't until the 2004 election season, however, that Bright Eyes was thrust into the national spotlight. The group traveled across the country with REM and Bruce Springsteen as part of the Vote For Change tour. Of course this tour was designed to make a political (and musical) statement against the current President, George W. Bush. This is the group's primary claim to fame, and this tour launched them to a whole new level in the music world.
While they had many commercial successes with their music after this tour, they got the most publicity and the most unique opportunities because of their political views. They even performed in a Saturday Night Live skit along with the Dixie Chicks, another musical group who were vocal in their criticism of President George W. Bush.
Later, in 2008, Bright Eyes performed at a rally in support of then-candidate Barack Obama in their "hometown" of Omaha.