Often cover art does not influence my preconceptions of the sound of an album prior to listening, but Bruce Springsteen’s cover art for his latest album, “Western Stars” appears to be an exception. The galloping horse, the desert scenery; it’s all very “Dixie Chicks Wide Open Spaces”. It evokes feelings of nostalgia for something that you can’t quite define. This immediate familiarity sparked my interest and left me thinking I would enjoy the new tunes. Well, give me a crystal ball and call me a psychic, because I did. Especially the tenth track “Stones”.
“Stones” is every cowboy’s dream song. Springsteen’s voice is smooth, yet tough and aged like a good whiskey. Above all else, the song is striking. The music sounds distant, yet familiar; as if I have heard it once before in a past life. Perhaps this is due to the use of repetition in the lyrics, which serves to create a somewhat liminal space out of sound; or perhaps it’s due to the use of an orchestra that adds so much emotional power. It’s the perfect companion piece to driving at 2 a.m., or road tripping to the shore this Summer. Settle it into all your quintessential Country-Rock playlists – it’s where it belongs.
To listen to “Stones” and the full “Western Stars” album from Bruce Springsteen, click here.