Western Stars - Studio Sessions


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Commercially Released: June 14, 2019
Produced by Ron Aniello and Bruce Springsteen
Recorded by Ron Aniello and Toby Scott, assisted by Rob Lebret and Ross Petersen at Thrill Hill Studio
All tracks Mixed by Tom Elmhirst, Joe Visciano (assistant) at Electric Lady Studios
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering
Photography by Kalle Gustafsson (Stock photo of Trunck Archive)

Overview

Bruce Springsteen's first new studio album in five years takes his music to a new place, drawing inspiration in part from the Southern California pop records of the late '60s and early '70s. The album was recorded primarily at Springsteen's home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York. Columbia Records released Springsteen's 19th studio album on June 14, 2019. "This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements", says Springsteen. "It's a jewel box of a record." The 13 tracks of 'Western Stars' encompass a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope. The album was recorded primarily at Springsteen's home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York.

In an interview in Variety, Springsteen reacted to the question if Western Stars was his most recent burst of writing? "Yeah, I would say so, which is unusual because I wrote most of that before [2012's] "Wrecking Ball", and I stopped making that record to make "Wrecking Ball", and then I went back to it. So it's been awhile since I've written, but that's not unusual. That's occurred plenty of other times in my working life. It's the record I wrote before Wrecking Ball but could not finish, and in attempting to finish it, I wrote "Wrecking Ball". So the roots of the record go back quite a ways. Sometimes you have to wait for these puzzles to sort themselves out, and it can take years. I mean, I have a record that I've been working on that's 20 years old. That's just the way the process is working at the moment."

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1. HITCH HIKIN' 3:37 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
2. THE WAYFARER 4:18 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
3. TUCSON TRAIN 3:31 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
4. WESTERN STARS 4:41 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
5. SLEEPY JOE'S CAFÉ 3:14 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
6. DRIVE FAST (THE STUNTMAN) 4:16 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
7. CHASIN' WILD HORSES 5:03 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
8. SUNDOWN 3:17 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
9. SOMEWHERE NORTH OF NASHVILLE 1:52 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
10. STONES 4:44 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
11. THERE GOES MY MIRACLE 4:05 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
12. HELLO SUNSHINE 3:56 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST
13. MOONLIGHT MOTEL 4:16 WESTERN / WESTERN: OST

Total Running Time: 50:59

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Additional Recordings

CHASIN' WILD HORSES - Demo uncirculating
CHASIN' WILD HORSES 5:03 WESTERN

Note: A demo of "Chasin' Wild Horses" was first recorded in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

DRIVE FAST (THE STUNTMAN) - Demo uncirculating
DRIVE FAST (THE STUNTMAN) 4:16 WESTERN

Note: A demo of "Drive Fast (The Stuntman)" was first recorded in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

HELLO SUNSHINE - Demo uncirculating
HELLO SUNSHINE 3:56 WESTERN / 2019 single

Note: A demo of "Hello Sunshine" was most likely recorded 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

HITCH HIKIN' - V1 uncirculating
HITCH HIKIN' - V2 3:37 WESTERN

Note: V1 of "Hitch Hikin'" was recorded on October 20, 2010, at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

MOONLIGHT MOTEL - Demo uncirculating
MOONLIGHT MOTEL 4:16 WESTERN

Note: A demo of "Moonlight Motel" was most likely recorded 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

SLEEPY JOE'S CAFÉ - Demo uncirculating
SLEEPY JOE'S CAFÉ 3:14 WESTERN

Note: A demo of "Sleepy Joe's Cafe" was most likely recorded 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

SOMEWHERE NORTH OF NASHVILLE 1:52 WESTERN

Note: Unlike the rest of the songs released on Western Stars, "Somewhere North of Nashville" was most likely written after 2017.

STONES - Demo uncirculating
STONES 4:44 WESTERN

Notes: A demo of "Stones" was recorded in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

SUNDOWN - Demo uncirculating
SUNDOWN 3:17 WESTERN

Notes: A demo of "Sundown" was recorded in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

THERE GOES MY MIRACLE - Demo uncirculating
THERE GOES MY MIRACLE 4:05 WESTERN / 2019 single

Note: A demo of "There Goes My Miracle" was recorded in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

TUCSON TRAIN - V1 uncirculating
TUCSON TRAIN - V2 3:31 WESTERN / 2019 single

Note: "Tucson Train" was recorded October 2, 2012, at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. A lyric transcription was completed for its appearance on a proposed release of Western Stars in 2015, but those plans were cancelled. The track was completed by Ron Aniello and Bruce Springsteen, and released in 2019.

THE WAYFARER - V1 uncirculating
THE WAYFARER - V2 uncirculating
THE WAYFARER - V3 4:18 WESTERN

Note: "The Wayfarer" was recorded on March 18, 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Engineer Toby Scott recorded two complete versions, adding a few bars at the end of V2. V3 was completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019.

WESTERN STARS - Demo uncirculating
WESTERN STARS 4:41 WESTERN / 2019 single

Note: A demo of "Western Stars" was recorded most likely in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

Other Western Stars-era Songs

I'LL STAND BY YOU ALWAYS - V1 5:32 SA
SONG FOR HARRY POTTER - V2a 5:32 cdr ep
I'LL STAND BY YOU ALWAYS - V2b 5:29 O&S
I'LL STAND BY YOU - V2c 4:35 BLINDED: OST

Note: A ballad written by Springsteen sometime between 1998 and 2000, inspired by reading the Harry Potter books to his youngest son Sam. This is not a children's song, however. Sometime in early 2001, Bruce made the song available to director Chris Columbus, who at the time was shooting the first of the Potter movies. However, the Springsteen song was ultimately rejected due to Harry Potter novelist/creator JK Rowling's contractual stipulation that no commercial songs of any type be used in the Potter film series. Warner Brothers Music President Gary Lemel, who was involved in the Potter music, was asked for comment by USA Today, but said he preferred not to comment publicly – but in doing so seemingly verified the basic truth in the story. In September or October 2001, Springsteen donated the song to fellow Sony artist (and Latin/salsa star) Marc Anthony, who recorded a cover version. In late 2001 both Sony and Anthony issued press releases specifically promoting the Springsteen composition and mentioning it would be one of the tracks on Anthony's forthcoming album Mended (and likely the lead single off the album). Strangely, when the Mended album was finally released in April 2002, the song was not on the album, nor was it issued as a single. A later special edition of Mended with bonus tracks also didn't include the song. There has been no explanation as to why the Springsteen composition was not issued.

V1 is from early 2001, a rough demo version with very few lyrics written. However, Bruce finished them quickly, and recorded the completed studio version V2a on January 28, 2001 in the studio next to his Rumson home. The studio version was exclusively given out on an in-house promo CD-R to some very few top executives at Columbia Records. The CD-R was burned on October 31, 2001, right around the time when the track was being offered up to the Harry Potter producers, about a week before the Live In New York City DVD was released. The CD-R contains three tracks: "Song For Harry Potter", "My Hometown (Live)", and "This Hard Land (Live)". V2b is the probably the same studio recording, copyrighted on June 13, 2001 and apparently donated to the Harry Potter movie. This version uses a similar base track, but the lyrics are completed. It leaked on February 10, 2017.

In late 2018, Ron Aniello added overdubs and effects to the base recording. It was mixed by Bob Clearmountain on February 19, 2019 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, NJ, specifically for the Blinded by The Light soundtrack album, and released August 9, 2019. V2c is actually the same as V2b, but fades out 50 seconds earlier, features more backing vocals, and the mix is slightly different. It was produced by Ron Aniello and mastered by Bob Ludwig. Aniello is also credited as engineer and mixing engineer, Toby Scott is credited as engineer (2001), and Rob Lebret is credited as engineer and mixing engineer.

THAT'S WHAT MAKES US GREAT 3:26 GUEST: YESTERDAYS / 2017 single

Note: "That's What Makes Us Great" was composed by Joe Grushecky, and features a guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen on duet vocals. Bruce recorded his parts at his home studio in Colts Neck, New Jersey in February 2017. The song debuted on Sirius XM's E Street Radio channel on April 19, 2017.


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