Bruce and the Backyard Band

Seeger_recordI’ve got some friends who like to hang out in the backyard and jam to old time american music.  One plays the piano, another plays the guitar, a third plays the banjo and mandolin. They all take turns singing.  I love to hear them sing and play.  You just can’t help but start clapping and singing along.

Bruce Springsteen has given us his version of that with his new record, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.  He got a group of bluegrass style musicians from NYC out to his farmhouse in NJ and recorded over three separate days. And he has captured the essence of a singalong with all of its fun, energy, and soul.

Tom Watson isn’t sold on the record, calling it "sloppy and haphazard".  But I am.  It’s been in heavy rotation since I got it last week and I think it will stay there for some time.

Bruce_with_band
And to make things even better, Bruce took his backyard band down to Jazzfest and played a killer set last night to end the first weekend.

Dineh has his take on Bruce’s set here, and Michael Homan has his take here.  Both of them were moved by Bruce’s version of When The Saints Go Marching In to close the set.  I wish I was there to see that.

If you want to hear some of this amazing record, you can listen to last night’s Positively 10th Street where we played Old Dan Tucker to start the show or this version of John Henry, the great ballad about the the black superman who built the railroad with muscles, sweat, and grit.  For more on John Henry, listen to this podcast by Jason Chervokas.

Bruce’s gift of song is not limited to New Orleans, it’s a gift to all of us who love american music and if you are in that camp, I suggest you get the record.