Bruce Springsteen performs April 17, 2012, in Cleveland. Photo by Kevin Hall
With all apologies to Reese and his Cups, there are no wrong ways to listen to Bruce Springsteen.
Want to hear a story, with themes uniting the music from beginning to end? Pop in a full album. More interested in checking out singles, bouncing from rock to pop to folk to beyond? Put your iPod on shuffle and move through his individual songs. Hits? He’s got them. Obscure tracks? Those, too. Fan favorites? Duh.
Bruce Springsteen’s more overtly political albums tend to have a quieter feel, as though the music couldn’t match the vitriol of the lyrics. In albums like Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad, Springsteen mostly armed himself with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, painting stories of bleakness in which the promise of hope was as sparse as the music. Continue reading →
Our publisher walked into the newsroom, telling us we should monitor the morning TV broadcasts, not that anything was major, but just in case.
A plane had hit the World Trade Center, which while definitely unusual, was nothing we’d normally cover in Georgetown, Ky., where we focused our reporting efforts on news inside Scott County’s borders.
My parents hadn’t given up on me, even though by all accounts they probably should have. I hated them, for no good reason, other than the fact I was in my early 20s and they weren’t.
They tried to reach out to me. I refused, time and again.
Then someone reached out to them, they graciously accepted the offer and I was fortunately too young and dumb to realize I was being parented by proxy. I’m not sure when Norman Watson called my mom, telling her he’d talk to me, try to make me be less angry, less sullen, less bratty, less negative.
As it is with every December, the annual end-of-the-year “best of” lists have started rolling out in various magazines. I saw two today, from NME and Paste, neither of which had 2010′s best album, Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” at its deserved spot at the top (NME had it in the mid-30s, which is just silly), and it started me thinking of my own list. Continue reading →
When it comes to 1984, I’m less Orwellian than I am David Lee Rothian.
While George preached about the horrors of Big Brother, Diamond Dave sang hosannas in honor of the time-honored tradition of s-e-x. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant when, following Eddie Van Halen’s blistering solo, he said he would “reach down between my legs n’ ease the seat back.” I could be wrong, though; perhaps the car lacked ample leg space for a comfortable ride. Dammit, that sounds dirty, too. Thanks a lot, David Lee Roth. Continue reading →
First, I’ll be passing through Wapakoneta, Ohio, a town I first discovered in 2004 while driving to a concert in Detroit. There’s nothing particularly special about the town, but the name became a living punchline, and every time I think of Ohio, I think of Wapakoneta. It will always make me laugh.
The other important thing comes after passing through Wapakoneta on my way to Detroit, where I’ll be seeing what could very well be one of the best concerts of my life: The Gaslight Anthem and The Hold Steady. Both bands are Springsteen disciples and are renowned for their live acts, so seeing them share a stage for a one-time-only concert could be more rock and/or roll than I can possibly handle. Continue reading →
My emotions will be running high the next few days as I head back to Powell County for the visitation and funeral of my friend Norman, who died early Sunday morning following a battle with cancer. As usual in times like this, I’ll turn to my favorite counselors to help guide me through. I’ll be relying on names like Springsteen and Tweedy, Lennon/McCartney and Earle. Continue reading →