Bruce Springsteen’s new album Western Stars is here and with it, a new video for the title track. Springsteen and the backing musicians from the album play the song in a bar, crosscut with scenes of Bruce driving a vintage Chevrolet El Camino though the West, roaming the desert and gazing out at the vast landscapes.
The song tells the story of an aging actor that was once shot by John Wayne on screen (“That one scene’s brought me a thousand drinks/Set me up and I’ll tell it for you, friend”). Now he does credit card commercials.
Western Stars was produced by Ron Aniello and features more than 20 musicians, including Jon Brion, original E Street Band keyboardist David Sancious and violinist Soozie Tyrell and keyboardist Charlie Giordano from the current incarnation of the group. “This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements,” Springsteen said in a statement. “It’s a jewel box of a record.”
Reviews for Western Stars have been strong. “[It’s] a lushly orchestrated set of throwback, country-tinged folk pop that, despite some resemblance to previous works like Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad, sounds like little else in his catalog,” Rolling Stone’s Will Hermes wrote in a four-star review. “Frankly, its sheen is off-putting at first. But once you settle in, the set reveals some of Springsteen’s most beguiling work ever.”
Springsteen has not granted any interviews about the record and he has yet to perform the songs live in any capacity. It’s unclear of he’ll tour behind it. The only future tour he’s talked about recently is one behind an album he plans on cutting with the E Street Band later this year.