“Jesus Was An Only Son”

By |2019-03-15T19:02:45-05:00March 15th, 2019|

Editor’s Note: Bruce Springsteen released the song "Jesus Was An Only Son" on his 2005 album, Devils and Dust. Words and music follow below. Well Jesus was an only son As he walked up Calvary Hill His mother Mary walking beside him In the path where his blood spilled Jesus was an only son In [...]

Greetings From Asbury Park: The Revival of a City on the Shore

By |2018-09-13T10:10:28-05:00September 13th, 2018|

Asbury Park postcard, sometime between 1930-1945. When I was a teenager, in the late 1990s, Asbury Park, New Jersey had fallen on hard times. The kinetic energy of the small shore city—Ferris wheels and carousels, breezy counters with young people selling waffle cones and hamburgers to beachgoers in the salty air—was largely gone. [...]

Good Books and Great Music for Christmas Gifting

By |2017-12-14T15:43:07-05:00December 14th, 2017|

Here are four recently-published books and four new classical music albums that I have greatly enjoyed this past year… Books I’ve read several excellent biographies (and one great autobiography) this past year. Foremost among the former is Jan Swafford’s magisterial Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph, which could easily be termed the definitive biography of perhaps the [...]

“Brothers Under the Bridge”

By |2017-11-11T14:12:07-05:00November 11th, 2017|

Editor's Note: Bruce Springsteen wrote the song "Brothers Under the Bridge" in 1995. It tells the story of a group of homeless Vietnam veterans who set up a camp in the San Gabriel mountains near Los Angeles. "This is the story about one of them who has a grown daughter that he's never seen," Mr. [...]

“A Long and Noisy Prayer”: Bruce Springsteen Tells His Life Story

By |2017-12-13T15:51:24-05:00September 22nd, 2017|

Though his fans will undoubtedly enjoy this engrossing autobiography, it deserves a broader audience because of the beauty of Mr. Springsteen's writing, his penetrating observations about human nature, and his well-crafted history of an interesting and important life... "We remain in the air, the empty space, in the dusty, roots and deep earth, in the [...]

“The Wall”

By |2019-03-12T16:51:24-05:00May 29th, 2017|

Editor's Note: Bruce Springsteen composed "The Wall" in honor of Walter Cichon, a fellow guitarist and friend from his home town of Freehold, New Jersey, who was killed in the Vietnam War. Cigarettes and a bottle of beer this poem that I wrote for you This black stone and these hard tears are all I [...]

“I Work To Be an Ancestor”

By |2018-09-20T12:47:39-05:00April 5th, 2017|

The story of one’s life has no end. It is simply told in your own blood until it is passed along to be told in the blood of those you love, who inherit it. As it’s told, it is altered, as all stories are in the telling. It continues to be told because along with [...]

My Hometown, My Church

By |2017-02-23T21:47:33-05:00November 23rd, 2016|

"When it rains, the moisture in the humid air blankets our town with the smell of damp coffee grounds wafting in from the Nescafé factory at the town’s eastern edge. I don’t like coffee but I like that smell. It’s comforting; it unites the town in a common sensory experience; it’s good industry, like the [...]

A World of Tragedy and Grace

By |2017-02-23T21:45:01-05:00December 16th, 2015|

The spiritual life is going to be a life of mystery. Why would you not be humble in the face of that mystery? Why would you assume that the answers can be handed down to you, A to Z, no room for doubt? That’s child-like, that desire for answers. Adult life is dealing with [...]

Ten Great Songs About America by Bruce Springsteen

By |2019-03-18T22:34:02-05:00July 3rd, 2015|

Novelist Walker Percy was a fan of Bruce Springsteen, calling him “my favorite American philosopher.” Percy even wrote a letter to Mr. Springsteen, seeking information about his interest in Flannery O’Connor and his spiritual journey as a baptized Roman Catholic. Percy was also impressed by Mr. Springsteen’s song-writing, seeing the New Jersey native as a sort of [...]

Books for Christmas: Bruce Springsteen Recommends

By |2017-02-23T21:46:26-05:00December 17th, 2014|

The great Southern novelist Walker Percy called singer-writer Bruce Springsteen his “favorite American philosopher.” Raised in a blue-collar household in central New Jersey, Mr. Springsteen was not exposed to literature by his parents and attended a junior college only briefly; yet he began reading seriously in his late-twenties and at age sixty-seven continues to [...]

Bruce Springsteen at the Berlin Wall

By |2017-05-24T11:32:59-05:00November 9th, 2014|

In 1988, the Cold War seemed to be far from over. Though Mikhail Gorbachev had come to power in the Soviet Union three years earlier and had signed a major arms reduction treaty with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, the Iron Curtain continued to divide Europe between west and east, and seemed to most observers [...]

The “Antigone” of Bruce Springsteen: Highway Patrolman

By |2017-08-15T11:08:31-05:00September 23rd, 2014|

Viggo Mortensen as Franky In Sophocles’ great play, Antigone, the eponymous heroine defies Creon, the ruler of Thebes, by burying her brother, Polyneices, who fought against Creon in the city’s recent civil war. Creon has decreed that Polyneices’ treachery will be avenged by allowing his exposed body to be desecrated, “chewed up by birds [...]