Website: Bruce Springsteen
The Inside Pulse:
A year after the dark Devils and Dust hit shelves, Bruce returns to a form not seen since the big band country sound of, well, whenever that was the face of American music. While Devils and Dust was mostly an acoustic rendition of images of a broken America, We Shall Overcome is its polar opposite. This is an album of folk songs about characters across Oklahoma and Nebraska and Alabama, all interesting, all deep and three dimensional and very, very Bruce Springsteen (and company, by the sounds of it in the dozens). I guess I’m just confused. He comes off The Rising, a bitter-tea album about 9/11; Devils and Dust, a bitter-tea album about hookers and broken hearts; and then gives us this, a collection of washpan sing-a-longs that would make any respectable hobo in a straw hat do a jig on the spot. It’s not that one can’t enjoy it; far from it. It’s probably the best country album this year. It’s just that I don’t understand it.
You know those folks out there who will tell you that today’s country music is terrible? Well, they’d enjoy this record, I think. It’s got just enough plaid cowboy jive to rustle a whole barn full of farmer’s daughters. The whole thing is performed in amazing style; you can tell everyone is having a blast, and that really helps the feel. And it’s the first time we’ve been able to sing along with Bruce since he released that live album about ten years ago.
It’s a freakin bluegrass country album, and just about every Bruce Springsteen fan out there can’t stand modern country music for about a thousand extremely legitimate reasons and there’s not much wiggle room to argue with them. This is either going to be a smash success or a dismal experiment in being a shining hope of Americana in a period of time when Bruce should really be bringing us a new The Rising every year to remind America of what it’s become. It’s as if he’s given up on being a ‘message’ singer and joined in on the party just because the evangalists have made country kind of hot right now.
Bruce Springsteen meets Bob Seeger in a hoe down square dance. With a pie contest at the end.
Reason To Buy:
You have a giant desire to grab your partner and dosado, forget all the crap that’s been going on in America this whole time (ie – put The Rising on the shelf) and reminisce about that time your car broke down in South Dakota and you were stuck in that nowhere grease town for just long enough to fall head over heels for Gretta Sampson, that pearl.