“And we’ll ride until we fall
We’ll sleep in the fields
We’ll sleep by the rivers
And in the morning we’ll make a plan
Well if you can’t make it stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive if you can
And meet me in a dream of this hard land”
I have many favorite singers and songwriters, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, but there is one that is on the top of my list and that is Bruce Springsteen–a.k.a. “The Boss.” The first time I heard his music I was very little–I have vague memories of listening to my uncle’s record (yep, LP) of Tunnel of Love. But the first time I really heard his music was when I was about ten years old and my mom had gotten his new album, Human Touch. It wouldn’t be until later in high school, after I had gone through my teeny-bopper music phase that I began to find (or re-find) what I call real music: Springsteen and Dylan amongst the many. So it was then that I became enamored with Bruce not only as a musician, but with the man himself. Besides finding him attractive, I also find him to be a surprisingly humble and very Earthy being.
“Poor man wanna be rich,
rich man wanna be king
And a king ain’t satisfied
till he rules everything”
Now, what I find particularly powerful about Springsteen’s music is the relatability. By that I mean he writes songs about the human experience: struggles, the working class, loss, love, redemption and in a bigger sense where we belong in relation to these things and in life. His lyrics are always thought provoking and set against amazing instrumentals, especially the characteristic sound of guitar and harmonica that give his music the classic “Bruce” sound.
From his first album, Greetings in Asbury Park which was released Jan. 5th of 1975 to his latest, Working on a Dream, which came out January of this year, Springsteen was literally “born to run!” He’s no longer the straggly, shy New Jersey kid but he has stayed pretty true to his roots (One of my favorite reads was It Ain’t No Sin To Be Glad Your Alive by Eric Alterman–Bruce was so shy when he was younger he couldn’t even look people in the face when he talked to them–and now look at him, performing for millions of people world-wide!) Each of his CD’s brings new insights to life, and his music has matured and grown over the years. I love how the music creates new memories too: where you are when you first hear the new songs and who you are with. Their meaning also evolves over time: sometimes I don’t pick up on certain aspects of the song the first time I listen to it, and other times the song has more significance depending on what is going on in my personal life.
I’ve had the priviliage of seeing four of his shows: with the extraordinary E Street Band, his solo acoustic tour, and with the Seeger Sessions Band…and this Friday, April 24th, I will be seeing him again in Hartford for his new tour! (Needless to say, I am a little more than exuberant).
Whether Springsteen’s music is new to you, or you just want to re-vist, here is some of his music, and other goodies, that OWL has:
The Essential Bruce Springsteen: Think of this as the “Bruce Sampler.” A little bit of his older stuff, some of the newer stuff and a lot of goodness. (CD Rock SPR).
We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions-Springsteen takes old classics, like “Old Dan Tucker,” “Shenandoah,” and “Jesse James” and brings a new, whole band sound to light. With the spectacular combination of guitars, banjo, violin and drums you won’t be able to resist the urge to dance. It’s a different sound from the classic rock that usually comprises Springsteen’s CD’s, but it’s well worth a listen (CD Rock SPR)
Devils and Dust– This is a raw, acoustic CD; just Bruce, his guitar and harmonica. Although some prefer Springsteen strictly with the E Street Band , I find this album to be particularly powerful;strong, resonating lyrics and great acoustic guitar sound. There is also a DVD side where you can see Bruce sing some of the songs with a personal introduction to each!! (CD Folk-Rock SPR).
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live in New York City: An amazing live performance-full of energy and depth. Especially moving is the version of ” The River” with it’s long drawn out saxophone solo, by none other than Clarence Clemons, and the meloncholy notes of the harmonica. Classics like “Badlands,” and “Out in the Street” will have you pumping( CD Rock SPR).
Magic– This 2007 release reunited the E Street Band (after a couple years of solo Bruce after The Rising album) and brought back their classic sound from earlier days. I would say this is one of my all time favorite Springsteen albums–I love each song from 1-11. The songs are full of meaning, and some are very political without outright mentioning names. Nevertheless, the songs have a great rockin’ beat that make the album fun (CD Rock SPR).
Working on a Dream-The newest Springsteen release. Creative, fun and lyrical as always. I was really touched by “The Last Carnival” which was written for life-long E Street band member Danny Federici who passed away last April (CD Rock SPR).
Rolling Stone Interviews– Some of greats in here, and of course, Bruce Springsteen. Read his interview on page 313 (790.2 ROL).
*You should also check out his VH1 Storytellers produced a few years back when Devils and Dust came out–it is one of my favorite things to watch because he not only performs, but he gives the audience some insight into the lyrics and how he wrote the songs. The acoustic guitar for The Rising is incredible as is the piano version of Thunder Road. Definitly worth watching 🙂
“In the room where fortune falls
On a day when chance is all
In the dark of this exile
I felt the grace of your smile
Honey you’re my lucky day
Baby you’re my lucky day”
Sarai is the Publicity Coordinator/Library Assistant and is thinking that her “lucky day” is coming this Friday when she’ll be rocking with Bruce Springsteen!