Most albums have a particular feel that makes them feel seasonal. For the springtime, I always like to bust out Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions. Like the songs that the album was based on, The Seeger Sessions plays like a group of musicians getting together on a porch, drinking beer and whiskey between takes. And despite the weighty topic of (most) of the songs, it’s a fun sounding album.
Despite his constant perfection, Springsteen picked up the spirit of these folk songs popularized by Pete Seeger. It sounds like the group of musicians just got together and decided to play with very little rehearsal. And that’s not a criticism at all – in fact that is part of the album’s charm. Springsteen can be heard calling out chord changes as he leads his band through rowdy takes on folk-classics. On “O Mary Don’t You Weep” the female backing singers come in too early during one of the verses – but the rest of the band keeps playing like nothing happened. It’s as they were making the music for just for fun – forgetting that the tape was rolling. Taking out these mistakes would be equivalent to taking out the laughter at the beginning of “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream.”
While the songs are taken from Seeger’s versions of folk-songs the album certainly couldn’t have existed with Bob Dylan and The Band- especially The Basement Tapes. Bruce and his Seeger Sessions band are diving deep into Americana just like Dylan and the Band did during the Summer of 1967, but giving it a refreshing spin and making something truly unique. (Of course, The Seeger Sessions will never be as legendary or as influential as The Basement Tapes.)
While Springsteen has always had an interest in Americana (and you could argue the fact that he created his own version of America) the Seeger Sessions is an album that the 50-something year old Springsteen could make. He doesn’t seem concerned with making a big bold statements and seems content to make music for the sake of music. Early in his career Springsteen got compared to Dylan a lot – and on the Seeger Sessions he comes as close as he can get without even realizing it.