Bruce Springsteen re-teams with producer Brendan O'Brien on his 19th album, "Devils & Dust," which Columbia will release this week. The 12-track set follows the format of Springsteen's '90s studio work, in which he eschewed the presence of the full E Street Band and was instead surrounded by a rotating cast of collaborators.
The core band here features only Springsteen on guitar, O'Brien on bass and Steve Jordan (Steely Dan, Keith Richards) on drums. The latter also produced Springsteen's wife Patti Scialfa's 2004 Columbia studio album, "23rd Street Lullaby."
The title cut has been in Springsteen's catalog for several years, and was dusted off in soundchecks for the E Street Band's run on last fall's Vote for Change tour, but never performed at a show. Two of the tracks -- "Long Time Comin'" and "The Hitter" -- date back at least 10 years and were performed during the tour in support of the 1995 album "The Ghost of Tom Joad."
Like much of the material on that set, the songs are both first-person narratives, using details and fragmented scenes to sketch out a life's story. The first is about a father celebrating the optimism that comes with an awaited child; the second about a street fighter nearing the end of an unenviable career. Springsteen's acoustic tour in support of the new set began Sunday (April 25) in Detroit.