After the one-man theater tour Springsteen on Broadway (2018) and the studio album Western Stars (2019), Bruce Springsteen returned to the studio to record a musical work that is as complex as it is immediate, called Letter to You (2020).
Observing the genesis of this album, we can see how it is full of strong dynamic tensions with elements that could be considered in tension or contradictory. In fact, in the era of large productions and myriad technological possibilities, in which sounds are processed, corrected and recreated, Springsteen has opted for a more instinctive solution. He recorded in the studio at his farm in Colts Neck, New Jersey. It’s a live recording – as in a live concert – accompanied by the historic E Street Band. It’s as if he wanted to again feel the thrill of the pulsing, rough sound of the music of his origins.
Another element of tension is of a temporal kind: if only five days were dedicated to the recording of songs, these nevertheless encapsulate the full extent of his career. “It’s a record that stretches across a wide swathe of time, takes in my first band, takes in my current band and takes in what I learned between[…] Between 17 and 70,” he says. On the album he reprises the song “If I Was The Priest,” which he sang at the beginning of his career during an audition at Columbia with the record producer John Hammond, who was one of the first to recognize the potential of Springsteen’s music.