Archives for category: Recordings

You probably know my grandfather passed away this Spring. He went from having a stroke, to kind of getting better, to taking a turn for the worst and passing away just a few weeks’ time.

It is hard to sit down and portray to you what my Grandpa was like in a simple blog post. It’s still hard for me to grasp that he is not here.

My grandparent’s house has always been a house full of people, laughter, food, and booze. I spent a great part of my childhood summers there, because at one point in my Grandpa’s retirement he deemed it a good idea to get a pool. Also because your grandparent’s house is always cooler when you’re a kid (and an adult, really). Me and my cousins were there more than we were our own houses sometimes.

The thing about my Grandpa was that he was pretty quiet. I still have yet to figure out if that was because he didn’t have a whole lot to say, or because he couldn’t get a word in. He would sit on a chair in the living room, watching TV, usually sports. I swear, that man would watch any sport that was on TV. Football and baseball of course. But fencing? Bowling? You name it. He’d watch it. On mute. And he was a stats master.

When I got to their house for his funeral, I couldn’t get over the fact that he wasn’t there. And even though I was there for that very reason, I kept finding myself forgetting that he wasn’t. Over and over in my mind I kept thinking, “you’re house is waiting for you to walk in.” I kept waiting for him to ask me how Nashville was and how my car was running.

So there we were, gathered at the kitchen table, eating, drinking and reminiscing, and he was missing.

I wanted to ask him about Chip Kelly. Where Manti would go in the draft. If Cole Hamels would get out of his slump. I wanted to ask him if he wanted something to eat or drink. And he was missing.

People kept coming in and out. People he loved. People who loved him, and he was missing.

Flowers and food, food and flowers, sometimes a case of beer, and he was missing.

Some songs you listen to hundreds of times, and then something like this happens and it’s like hearing it with a whole new set of ears. That’s how I was with this one.  There were many times I considered this song for the blog, but I think it was meant to wait until now.

Every time something like this happens, music is hard for me. It’s hard to listen to, it’s hard to write. It’s hard to share. It’s hard to sing. My piano and guitar collect dust. Sometimes I think it’s because that’s where my greatest joy lies, and I can’t go back to it. But I know my Grandpa would want me to.

All you have to do is look at the comments under any YouTube video of this song, and you see that it means a lot to a lot of people. Bruce has said the best music is there to give you something to face the world with.

Thanks for listening, and I hope to get better about posting on here more often.

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Sometimes, because of his God given, natural yet supernatural way of performing we can forget about the force that is Bruce, the songwriter.

Almost every day, I sit at the piano and try to create magic. Some days are luckier than others, for sure. But I can’t help but wonder, while I’m sitting at my old upright facing the front window of my house, if Bruce had these moments too. Moments when he was writing and writing, pouring his heart out all the while being unsure it would ever be heard by anyone beside himself.

For You is a masterpiece. I love a song that requires some digging, some actual listening to, to get to the root of it. Too often in popular music we are spoon fed lyrics that mean little to nothing. Too often when I’m writing I find myself more worried about getting to the chorus fast enough for country radio rather than really say what I want to say.

I’ve always taken this song to be about a girl who has problems that are out of her control and the man who loves her for it and through it.  Coming from a girl who’s life can also be seen as one long emergency (although, no where near as bad as the girl’s in the song), this song guts me. This is said to be Bruce’s first attempt at a love song, and I believe he far surpassed that. Yes it’s easy to write love songs about butterflies and sunshine, but a true, deep love is one that is there through the worst of it. Not just the easy days. The days when it’s hard to get out of bed. Days when the bank account is low. The days when you’re mad because your partner lacks the organizational gene. Days when Notre Dame/the Eagles/the Phillies lose.

I’d like to thank my friend’s Kevin and Rachel for their help on this one. I’d also like to tell you that I flubbed a lyric or two. One I flubbed on purpose (it has to do with a medal I also wear) and one was by accident. So, you can find the other one on your own. Consider it a Bridget & Bruce game of Where’s Waldo.

 

Also, unrelated to the song but just for fun: HAPPY FOOTBALL SEASON! Below are some of my favorite pictures from this time of year.

Greetings from Nashville, where we are supposed to reach the cool temp of 108 today. Good times.

When I started the blog, I had a few songs on a list of songs I didn’t want to or couldn’t do. Born to Run, of course was number one, because really, no one wants to hear Born to Run covered. Then I added Because the Night and Stolen Car since females have already so awesomely covered them.

Except then I got a REAL PIANO in my house and found myself playing around with Because the Night. Just for fun at first, and then I really remembered how much I love the song. Firstly, I am a child of the 90s, so the 10,000 Maniacs version makes me feel like a kid again and brings me back to the sweet time when I wasn’t responsible for anything important like driving or buying my own toilet paper.

This is a killer part of Bruce’s live show, and I was lucky to see him play this once or twice, including the Meadowlands show where I believe Nils did a back-flip for the first time (?). I could be completely wrong there but I like to pretend the Bruce shows I saw were all historic in some fashion.

So then it came down to what lyrics to sing. I used some of Bruce, some of Patti Smiths, because honestly, I’m a girl and Patti’s words apply more to a female singing the song. “I work all day out in the hot sun,” is kind of funny, because I can’t stand to be out in the hot sun for more than 3 seconds at a time. I’m not fooling anyone there.

Lastly, it’s just piano/vocal because to get an orchestra to play on this thing would have cost me a few month’s salary and then some. Oh! And I played piano on it. Nope, I’m not going to blame that piano playing on anyone else. I even left a glitch in the bridge to prove it’s true. I really wanted the recording to sound as if I were playing it for you in my living room, because until now I’ve only played it for my dogs.

Hope you all like it, everyone stay cool!

And Bruce, if you’re reading, I’m planning on one of the Citizen’s Bank Park shows. Just FYI. I’m from PA and the Phillies are my favorite and, let’s be honest, your show there is going to be as spectacular as Chase Utley’s home run at his first at bat the other night. We could do this one:

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I’ve been gone a long time. But I figured with Bruce making a comeback, now’s a good time for mine.

Since we left off:

Notre Dame had another mediocre season. I still love them.

Dublin and I enjoyed the Tennessee fall foliage.

My sister became the most beautiful bride of ALL TIME.

I sang Dylan’s “Forever Young” for the father/daughter dance.

Roy Halladay topped my Christmas tree in lieu of an angel.

Not pictured: The Phillies blew it (bats! we need bats!). A three-month long ear infection (you’re welcome). I quit my job (more on that later).

On to the song!

I can’t remember when I started singing. It’s like trying to remember when I started breathing. It’s always been a part of my general makeup.

Recording this song was the first thing I did musically in the month or so after losing my grandfather. Of course, no one’s life is perfect. I’ve been sad. I’ve been down, but I’ve never been as broken.

I remember the mile markers of my life musically so far. I remember the piano lessons, voice lessons, getting accepted into Belmont’s school of music, making an ensemble. My first gig, my first rejection, singing at state championships, and now singing for the first time since I lost my Pap Pap.

I think I have mentioned that my grandfather was a pivotal part of my singing career because he was at every gig I had at home. Whether it was singing at a bar, Christmas Eve Mass, or the national anthem at a basketball game, he was there. The second I open my mouth to sing I think of him smiling proudly back at me. He was so proud of all of his grandchildren.

I was hoping to have more success than I did in his lifetime. He would have been over the moon to see our last name in an album cover somewhere. I didn’t make this happen, but I will still try.

This has nothing to do with Drive All Night, although, singing with this new experience was on a completely different level than normal.

Drive All Night is the first song I wanted to do for the blog but for some reason, I kept putting it off. It’s my favorite non-greatest-hits Bruce song. If I did it, I wanted it to be done right, and different.

While I was recording, although the subject matter has nothing to do with the loss I had at hand, I realized that hurt is hurt. Loss is loss. And listening to the playback I heard in my voice, for the first time, real sadness.There are parts of this recording that “Nashville Bridget” wanted to fix. Then I thought of Bruce’s version, and how killer that raw emotion was. So I left it alone.

This is for all of you who have been patient with the blog. The wonderful Springsteen fans who were there for me, almost a complete stranger, in my time of loss. Then we were all there for each other not too long after for the loss of Clarence. I have no idea if this site has made its way to Bruce, or if it ever will. While that is the end goal, I now realize that I would have done this project no matter what, and I will continue to do so. Thank you.

And to Pap Pap, this is for you. They’re all for you.


PS. I would like to thank my wonderful, talented friends Kevin Fogarty & Justin Saunders for playing on this track. I am so lucky to have such talented people around me.

Check out Kevin’s composing site here:

http://www.kevinfogartymusic.com/

And Justin’s newest cello project here:

http://www.amazon.com/Blizzard-Strings-Tribute-Ozzy-Osbourne/dp/B006VDZYGU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1327855712&sr=8-4

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! TODAY ONLY (3/17) I WILL BE DONATING A QUARTER FOR EVERY COMMENT TO THE RED CROSS IN A SMALL EFFORT TO HELP OUT OUR JAPANESE BROTHERS AND SISTERS.


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I am 100% Irish down to both sets of my grandparents, so it is no surprise that St. Patrick’s day holds a special place in my heart.

My first real singing gig (besides singing in church) was on St. Patrick’s day when I was 12 years old. I got to sing at a place called Molly’s Pub in Locust Gap which unfortunately is no longer in existence. From there I got many more singing gigs doing Irish music… I had the name for it after all. My parents were very good at raising me to appreciate my heritage.

If you can ever get to the Girardville, Pennsylvania St. Patrick’s Day Parade, you really should. (It’s this weekend!) It’s in my dad’s hometown and it is really something to see.

Stop by and see my Pap Pap (far right). His house is along the parade route.

As much as I love St. Patrick’s day, all the “drink till you pass out” stuff is really annoying. Ireland is a country that has a deep history and many things to be known for besides that.

From early on, I always favored the sad Irish songs over that of Whiskey in the Jar and the likes (which are still good, mind you). Four Green Fields, Fields of Athenry, the Town I Loved So Well…I love these songs and they are sadder than almost any country song out there.

I was really excited to hear Bruce do Mrs. McGrath, a personal favorite of mine from the Seeger Sessions album. It wasn’t a lot like the versions I have heard, but Bruce being Bruce takes it to a higher level. Now I don’t even remember what the other versions I’ve heard sound like.

Mrs. McGrath tells the story of a woman whose son enters the British Army only to return having lost his legs fighting against Napoleon in the Peninsular War, and was popular amongst the Irish Volunteers before the 1916 Rising.

The most gripping line in this song for me is:

“All foreign wars I do proclaim
live on the blood and a mother’s pain
I’d rather have my son as he used to be
than the king of America and his whole Navy”

Bruce replaced America where France would be in the next line because a) he is Bruce and can do what he wants, and b) it is obvious that this song still stings true today. And yes I meant to say stings. It is amazing how a song that is probably over 100 years old can still hit the nail on the head in 2011.

Hope you enjoy it.

Have a happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Love, Bridget & Dublin



Listen to Play Around

Ha! This isn’t a Bruce song. But I’m pretty sure he likes it.

I love Patti Scialfa. Like many of us, I originally discovered her because she was Bruce’s wife, but she is a talented singer/songwriter in her own right.

Patti was actually one of the things that really drew me into the E-Street Band. It was probably the first time I saw a girl in a rock band, that wasn’t a full on girl band (like the Bangles/Go Gos). And she was beautiful! And she had red hair! And played guitar! I wanted to BE her.

I still want to be her.

I have had some people come to me and say that they never really got into Bruce, but are now because of the blog. If you really want to give yourself a treat, check out some of Patti’s stuff too.

Click to listen to “Paradise”

This song.

It’s a personal favorite of mine. However my favorite songs are usually like my favorite sports teams: heartbreaking.

It’s a doozy.

I especially apologize to Nashvillians because today is grey, dreary, and a Monday. Yuck. I wish I could send some virtual Xanex.

I kept getting lost in it when I was recording it…often falling short on a few notes. It’s funny, because when I listen to Bruce’s version, he also does the same. It’s a perfect song that is meant to not be sung perfectly.

I thought this song was about something different from what the internets think it’s about. It’s the last song second to last song on the Rising album. We all know the Rising album was Bruce’s response to 9/11 and was a part of the healing process for many.

I guess everyone’s heard that story of how after the attacks, Bruce was walking down the street and someone yelled from a car: “Bruce, we need you!”

I don’t know if it was that I wasn’t skilled in interpreting lyrics in high school, when this came out, or if Bruce purposely wrote it this way, but I always thought the song was about someone’s life flashing before their eyes as they’re dying. However, the large majority of people believe it’s about a suicide bomber. Pretty big difference. Well, I suppose not, but I always had a hero dying in mind, instead of the bad guy.

I can’t remember if it was the nuns or the movies who relayed to me that when you die your life flashes before your eyes. I always imagined this happening to people, and them seeing the very important people they have loved along the way. So the first verse, I always assumed this:

Where the river runs to black
I take the schoolbooks from your pack
Plastics, wire and your kiss
The breath of eternity on your lips

I assumed this song was about high school sweethearts. I pictured a New York firefighter who has been with the same woman since they were sixteen. And he went to work that morning just like everyone else does. Here he’s remembering their first meeting.

This is a haunting song, no matter which way you look at it. I’m sure I’ll get messages saying I’m a dumbass and that such person sending it is the ultimate Bruce fan and he personally relayed what the song was about to him.

But the most important thing here is that the Rising, for many of us Bruce fans, was about healing. Whatever those songs meant to us at the time, however old we were, no matter where we were listening from, they helped us. I thank God for the gift of music for many reasons, but this is the most important one.

The guy in the car was right. We needed him.

And as something extra to cheer us all up after we listen, this weekend Dublin had to take a trip to the vet (he’s ok, just a scratched eye, poor baby). I thought the picture they took of him looked like a mug shot:

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Since I have started the blog I’ve learned that the old saying that you can’t please everyone is true. For instance, people read the blog who are unfamiliar with the majority of Bruce’s catalog. For them, they enjoy hearing things like Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark, etc.

Then there are those that want the deep cuts like this one. Not that this is an unknown song, no, Bruce has songs far more unknown than this.

I’m surprised myself that I haven’t done anything from The River yet, because that is one of my favorite Bruce albums, and one I listen to more than others.

There are a handful of Bruce songs that I always thought would make great country songs. This is one of them. It’s a very sad song, being that as you listen to it you can tell the singer is pleding for someone to stay that is already gone.

It’s a busy day at work today, so unfortunately I can’t go into detail further. Thank you all for listening, and I hope you enjoy it enough to come back and listen some more.

Click here for “Secret Garden”

The year was 1996. I was twelve. Tom Cruise was still considered kind of normal.

When this song came out I probably didn’t realize what half the stuff in it actually meant. But while the song is of a sexual nature, I don’t believe it’s what Bruce’s goal was in writing it.

After I recorded this, I was thinking on the way home of how I could possibly blog about what the song means to me, as I usually do. After all, this blog is rated PG. I love the way it’s written. I can loop it and listen to it for two hours straight, or more. I think the nature of the song is that while you could know someone in the, uh, biblical sense, that doesn’t mean you know them on an intimate level.

And yes, there is a difference. I think what Bruce is getting at in this song is that here is this guy, singing about a lady friend, and while he “knows” her, he has no idea what’s going on in her head. Or maybe she’s had something terrible happen to her that she tells no one about. Maybe she’s an addict who finds more comfort in a drug than she does in him. Maybe she’s depressed. He has no idea what it is that is eating at her.

Some people can work on that. I’m thinking the character in this song realizes that he will never break into the part of his partner that he really wants to. The part where everything he needs is a million miles away.

That’s one of the many glorious things about Bruce’s writing. It’s kind of like the show LOST. Not much is spoon fed. He gives you so much, and then leaves it up to you.

Consequently, the writers and creators of LOST are apparently big Boss fans.

Back to what I was saying.

This is, however, just my humble opinion. You can take it as a grain of salt and just think “SHOW ME THE MONEY” as you play it. Or about that cute little kid in the movie, who has probably by now graduated college.


There really isn’t much to say about Atlantic City. As with all Springsteen songs, the song speaks for itself.

In all my times of seeing Bruce live, he’s never done it. When he played with the E-Street Band in Nashville almost two years ago, I checked out the set list the next day and saw that he was planning on opening with it, but he didn’t.

But, that show he covered “I Walk the Line” and from it segued into “I’m on Fire.” Which. Was. Amazing. I got goosebumps sitting here just thinking about it.

So, I forgive him.

I always thought this song would make a great premise for a Martin Scorsese movie. Really, as a songwriter, it is just mind blowing to me how Bruce can almost fit what could be a three hour movie in a three minute song. A lot of people will ask how I ever got into country music from listening to Bruce, and that’s really just it. Country music is all about storytelling.

This song is for you, Uncle Pat. Because you asked for it, and because you dream as big as I do.

Guitar and BGVs by Lee Holland.