If you haven't heard Bruce Springsteen's new album, a rousing tribute to folk singer Pete Seeger aptly titled "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions," there's no better way to catch the Boss honor the folk music union hero than on CMT (Sunflower Broadband Channel 60) this weekend.
Premiering at 8 p.m. today, "Bruce Springsteen: The Seeger Sessions" is an hour-long musical love fest, with Springsteen and his ragtag band recording the album live in Springsteen's New Jersey farmhouse. "Today," Springsteen announces grandly to his rapt musicians, "we are going to play folk music."
Encouraging the players to get liquored up and taking his own advice, a flannel-clad Springsteen belts out tune after tune, his voice sounding rougher, fuller and better than it ever has. Singing "O Mary Don't You Weep," the often stoic rock star actually breaks out into an Ashlee Simpson-style jig. He's that happy.
The show, an extended version of the DVD offered with the CD, is really one long music video for the album - a glowing ode to the Jersey idol, with his wife Patti Scialfa singing backup - but it's also a jubilant look at the live, unrehearsed recording process, a rare beast in the music industry these days.
There's something about these folk instruments, Springsteen says reverently, "instruments that didn't have to be plugged in. ... They were meant to be transient and to move with people. ... They were meant to be played in homes and bars and union halls, (and) they still come to life in that setting."
So he takes the guys outside and they jam on his lawn, looking like an old-fashioned traveling band: good and drunk.