When Devils & Dust was released, I was in the middle of a vacation. Late at night, sitting in a big comfy chair at our hotel, I sipped a glass of scotch while I listened. At first, what came through my little headphones was not the story of the title track’s conflicted soldier, but a short chain of Bruce-related memories that said a lot about my relationship to this music.
For people who are long-time fans of any music, the attached memories can grow in importance over time, making the music not just a “soundtrack” (Oh gawd, how I hate that “soundtrack of my life” description) but an integral part of the timeline. That time I listened to The Ghost of Tom Joad straight through with TheWife™? That shared experience was a revelation for us. We’d gone from lives where nothing was shared, escaping emotionally dead relationships to discover that perfect other person. Sharing was again possible.
When I hear Bruce sing “Fear’s a powerful thing/It can turn your heart black you can trust,” I think of those dark times and am glad to have come out on the other side.
So now when I hear this song — and particularly when the music swells at the midway point — I remember that one night at the hotel, and the Joad release, and Nebraska, and…
Up next: All The Way Home
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