Bruce Springsteen has a new album and it's really, really good.
I've been a Bruce guy for almost 50 years, that's five oh. Think about that. That's a long time. Blame it all on my good friend Bill Wight. We were both in college at the University of Maryland. Bill, who is from Manasquan, New Jersey, had heard of Bruce and one day said, "This guy is from Asbury Park near where I'm from, we should go see him." So we did.
And my life was forever changed.
He was so good, so real, so good. I came back from that concert a raving lunatic. And it didn't hurt that his sax player, Clarence Clemons aka Big Man, was Black. I thought that was very cool plus, plus, he treated him not like he was just some guy in the band but like a co-star.
Thus began my life long love affair with Bruce Springsteen. At that time he only had two albums out, Born to Run hadn't dropped and he played concerts from Jersey to Maryland; so a lot of people weren't hip to him yet. Plus getting people to try him was an uphill battle at first and I was on the front lines of that battle.
It sounds a bit ludicrous now but every new band, every new sound, has to start somewhere and that was the beginning. Well, I've seen him in concert a bazillion times since and even saw him on Broadway. I might have cried then. Maybe.
So here comes his latest record. He's older now. I'm older now. Age is different when you're older. Clarence is gone, Danny Federici is gone. My best friend? Gone. My cousin who I love dearly? Gone. My sister and brother? Gone. My Mother? Gone. He sings about things like that. The themes, the songs on the record speak right to my soul.
I'll tell you a secret. I first listened to it in the dark of my bedroom curious to what I'd hear. Turns out I listened to the whole album all the way through. Just me, Bruce, and his music. I might have cried then. Maybe.
Did you see him on the cover of Rolling Stone? Great picture. Even greater interview inside. Over the years I've been side by side with him. He's been there through my good times and my not so good times. Over the years I've liked him as much as his music.
How come when they talk about his music they don't talk more about his lyrics, his poetry as it were? Oh, people do but they talk a lot about the songs. Music and lyrics. The words on this album as in all his albums speak volumes to me.
Getting older, man.
Some things one thinks about: You think more of being here a finite time. You think of your kids and their future. Some of us even think of our grandkids. You think about the time you won't be here.You think of people who were always here and now they're not.
Bruce thinks about all that and more. He's like an old friend to me and millions.
Bruce Springsteen has a new album. Letter to You it's called. And it's mighty fine.