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Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions

A lot of fans and critics were disappointed with The Boss’ last acoustic effort, Devils and Dust. Many thought it was an uninspired release with uninteresting, sometimes embarrassing lyrics and weak, non-existent melodies. In comparison, Springsteen’s latest, We Shall Overcome, is more focused on creating fun, harmonious arrangements that take from country, folk and gospel music. Collected from three, one-day sessions (1997, 2005, and 2006), We Shall Overcome was recorded live to tape with no rehearsal time, and the result is that all 13 tracks feel organic and vibrant. It helps that Springsteen is backed by a stellar modern-day jug band featuring accordion, banjo, old time horns (sax, trumpet, tuba), an enthused bassist and violinist and various other percussive instruments. We Shall Overcome is also a Dual Disc release, meaning that it has a DVD side to it and it should not be missed. The DVD features an insightful 30-minute look into the making of the recording, some artist commentary, and live performances of key tracks “John Henry,” “Pay My Money Down,” “Erie Canal,” and “O Mary Don’t You Weep.” Even though Springsteen is covering influential folk hero Pete Seeger here, his worn out, rough edged voice and unique song arrangements make these songs of protest and hope all his own. (Columbia)

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