It's going to be hard to escape the Bruce Springsteen buzz over the next couple of months. The E-Street Band is back on tour. Magic, the first Bruce & the E-Street band album in five years is about to be released. And let's not forget the highly publicized concert on the plaza at Rockefeller Center on September 28th for the Today Show. I am thrilled by all of this. I even had a very tiny anxiety attack while trying to score tickets through Ticketmaster for the shows at Madison Square Garden. (Never a fun time)
One thing that will unfortunately be overshadowed by all of this is the new release from the influential indie label Appleseed Records. Sowing The Seeds -- The 10th Anniversary is a 2 CD set of politically charged songs from such esteemed artists as Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Steve Earle, Roger McGuinn, Judy Collins, Donovan, and the aforementioned "Boss" on an exclusive new recording of his own "Ghost Of Tom Joad," with folk legend Pete Seeger.
Along with this release is another star-studded compilation called Give Us Your Poor, featuring newly recorded tracks by the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Natalie Merchant, Madeleine Peyroux, Bonnie Raitt, and again, a duet by Bruce and Mr. Seeger on "Hobo's Lullaby," a song attributed to, but not written by, Woody Guthrie. This CD will be released on 9/25, and both of these CDs are devoted to the plight of the homeless.
These two releases are worth your time and money. The artists involved have all been politically active throughout their careers, and unlike so many benefit CDs, which seem hastily thrown together, every performance here is heartfelt and inspired. The unlikely combo of folkie Eric Andersen and head Fugee, Wyclef Jean is magical. Jackson Browne and Joan Baez sound as if they've been singing together their entire lives on "Guantanamera." Pete Seeger's "Bring Them Home," with additional lyrics by Appleseed Records founder Jim Musselman, gets a beautiful read from Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle, Anne Hills and Seeger himself. There truly isn't a clam on either of these CDs.
So while we all wait patiently for the "proper" release of Bruce's "Magic" on 10/2, I suggest we devote some time to the Bruce-approved Sowing The Seeds. Don't be afraid. Folk music is good for ya!