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Sunday, February 7, 2010


192 KBPS

There was a time when nobody besides Manfred Mann really bothered to cover Bruce Springsteen songs. All that changed once Born to Run turned the New Jersey singer-songwriter into a pop icon. Still, it was in the bleak character studies of 1982's Nebraska that he reaffirmed himself as a literate everyman steeped in the tradition of John Steinbeck and Flannery O'Connor, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. And that's the side of Springsteen that clearly appeals to Johnny Cash, Los Lobos, Hank Williams III, and the dozen other artists who participate in this remake of Nebraska. Chrissie Hynde, Ani DiFranco, and Deana Carter all deliver haunting performances, but as far as the men folk go, the album's most striking covers are "bonus" tracks that were recorded for but not released on Nebraska: "I'm on Fire" sounds even creepier with Cash's craggy vocal; Raul Malo brings out the pop sheen of "Downbound Train"; and "Wages of Sin," in the hands of Damien Jurado and Rose Thomas, shows Springsteen can be just as depressing as your favorite emo idol. All of which makes this a fine companion to the original recording.

1. Nebraska - Chrissie Hynde And Adam Seymour
2. Atlantic City - Hank III
3. Mansion On The Hill - Crooked Fingers
4. Johnny 99 - Los Lobos
5. Highway Patrolman - Dar Williams
6. State Trooper - Deanna Carter
7. Used Cars - Ani DiFranco
8. Open All Night - Son Volt
9. My Father's House - Ben Harper
10. Reason To Believe - Aimee Mann And Michael Penn
11. I'm On Fire - Johnny Cash
12. Downbound Train - Raul Malo of the Mavericks
13. Wages Of Sin - Damien Jurado And Rose Thomas

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