's nineteenth album, Devils & Dust
, features twelve brand-new Springsteen songs. and was produced by Brendan O'Brien, who first worked with Springsteen on the acclaimed album, The Rising
. The seeds for the new album were sown nearly a decade ago, when the singer-songwriter launched his first-ever solo acoustic tour (1995--96). Two of the new album's songs, "The Hitter" and "Long Time Comin'," were actually written and performed on The Ghost of Tom Joad tour. But not all the material dates back that far; the title track was written around the start of the war in Iraq, Springsteen said. "It works as a metaphor for all the music underneath it, the individual stories of people wrestling with their demons," he said of the title track. Springsteen opted to record without the E Street Band for Devils & Dust
. The core group was Springsteen on guitar and other instruments, producer Brendan O'Brien on bass and drummer Steve Jordan. In keeping with his pattern of recording, the new album is a quieter, more acoustic affair than The Rising. Springsteen, now 55, has alternated between large-scale rock records followed by more introspective material since 1982's Nebraska
was released two years after The River
. Pedal steel guitar, harmonica and violin fill in the sparse, rootsy arrangements. The bonus DVD includes a special Devils & Dust
film by noted photographer and film maker Danny Clinch, including rare, never-before-seen acoustic performances of "Devils & Dust," "Long Time Comin'," "Reno," All I'm Thinkin' About" and "Matamoras Banks" plus Bruce's personal introductions to the tracks.
2CD Columbia, 5200002, Jewel Case 17 Track 2005