A Boss is Born: Why We Dig Springsteen
Texas Music is not solely and wholly influenced by music created within its borders. Nor is it confined to country influences. It is hard to find a stronger influence on modern Texas Music’s sound than Bruce Springsteen. So, how and why has a guy from Jersey influenced so many Texans. On the occasion of his 62nd birthday, we’re going to let a few of his biggest fans explain his impact in their own words.
Bruce has been my idol now for sometime. The way he has influenced my career and shaped the music of other artists in the Texas music scene is uncanny. My first listen to Bruce was back in high school, driving around and listening to old tape cassettes ofBorn In The USA. I spent tons of time learning every song of his I could on the guitar and watching hours upon hours of footage of his shows on YouTube. That study of Springsteen has helped to set the style of my shows today and how I want my music portrayed to the audience. On stage he becomes the ringleader, a director, a magician, if you will, by taking the crowd in his hands and making them believe every word. His lyrics describe small towns, moments in history, and landmarks that have been left behind like rusty old cars in a wreck yard.
Over the years I have included many Bruce tunes in my set list. Attached is a cover of “Glory Days,” a tune of remembering and reminiscing the days of growing up, a time of innocence and beauty that causes you to only smile and laugh.
I would like to thank Bruce for so much inspiration and wish him a Happy Birthday! I’ll leave you with some beautiful lyrics of his:
You can’t start a fire
Worrying about your little world falling apart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
Happy Birthday Boss!
Now that I think about it, Bruce Springsteen is one of the first singers I remember ever hearing. One of the handful of folks that a seven-year-old me could hear and not only say “hey I like this!” but also “I know who this is”. The man’s just distinctive, not only his voice or that cluster of geniuses they call the E Street Band but his point of view … I don’t know how old I was before I ever heard anything except for what’s on Born In The USA, that was the only one my folks had for awhile but it’s a hell of a good place to start.
And as far as how he’s been such an influence on artists down here in Texas – even Townes Van Zandt covered Springsteen – I think it’s because he’s tapped into those universal feelings of love, lust, ambition, defeat, weariness, passion, justice, lawlessness, you name it. He’s the rich, gracefully aging rock star that never forgot what it was like to be the broke, awkward kid that most songwriters and poets and musicians are at heart. He can pack the studio with fifty people and make Born To Run or drag the tape recorder into the spare bedroom and make Nebraska, and either way it’ll change your life to hear it, whether you’re two exits south of him in Jersey or kicking tumbleweeds in Texas. I’m not at all surprised that he’s got dozens of friends and millions of fans down here … if he ever wanted to make a move, I think our home state would serve his kind, gifted, restless spirit well.
It was August of ’85. 7 years old and my summer was ending in New Jersey with my mother’s family. Cousins Edwina, Michelle, and Tanya had posters of this guy with a baseball cap in his back pocket. I spent that week with my older cousins mumbling along to words I didn’t know or understand, just waiting to shout “Glory Days” and “Born in the USA” at the top of my lungs.
Fast forward about 13 years. College. Playing bass for both food and scholarship money, on days off, usually Sunday, we’d grill out and listen to old records at somebody’s house. Vinyl wasn’t fashionable or hip then, it was simply all we had. Either Dub or Skinner grabbed Born to Run and tossed it on the turntable while everyone else made cocktails and bad jokes. The first tune shifted out of park with a nice lilting piano. I was engaged in a one-sided conversation that had no chorus. When the story ended, the song suddenly shifted into overdrive, and I was finished. Blown away…finished…through. I was a lifer. There wasn’t anyone better. Bruce and the E Street Band proved that songwriting and story-telling takes precedence over the business. It’s not about labels/promotion/charts, it’s about feeling. Captured moments. Grace. Humility. Honor.
A couple other guys will be adding their thoughts soon too. So check back over the next few days!