Bruce Springsteen’s long-promised solo album, “Western Stars,” will finally be released on Columbia Records on June 14. The first single and video from it, “Hello Sunshine,” will be released just after midnight ET tonight.
According to the announcement, the album — Springsteen’s first new studio outing in five years — “takes his music to a new place, drawing inspiration in part from the Southern California pop records of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The 13 tracks of ‘Western Stars’ encompass a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope.”
“This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements,” Springsteen said in the announcement. “It’s a jewel box of a record.”
Springsteen made a similar comment about the album, which was apparently completed before he launched “The River” tour three years ago, in Variety’s 2017 cover story. “That album is influenced by Southern California pop music of the ’70s: Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach, those kinds of records. I don’t know if people will hear those influences, but that was what I had in my mind. It gave me something to hook an album around; it gave me some inspiration to write. And also, it’s a singer-songwriter record. It’s connected to my solo records writing-wise, more ‘Tunnel of Love’ and ‘Devils and Dust,’ but it’s not like them at all. Just different characters living their lives.”
Ron Aniello produced the album with Springsteen and plays bass, keyboard, and other instruments. Patti Scialfa provides vocals and contributes vocal arrangements on four tracks. The musical arrangements include strings, horns, pedal steel and contributions from more than 20 other players including Jon Brion (who plays celeste, Moog, and farfisa), as well as guest appearances by David Sancious, Charlie Giordano, and Soozie Tyrell. The album was mixed by Tom Elmhirst.
All songs were written by Springsteen.
“Western Stars” tracklist
1. Hitch Hikin’
2. The Wayfarer
3. Tucson Train
4. Western Stars
5. Sleepy Joe’s Café
6. Drive Fast (The Stuntman)
7. Chasin’ Wild Horses
9. Somewhere North of Nashville
11. There Goes My Miracle
12. Hello Sunshine
13. Moonlight Motel