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your so much braver than me

im afraid of this record like i an with TOL

most people in this country can't afford therapy- i just have Bruce to light me my way

and like you im running in his footsteps 

WOAD was. my album to live in the moment

but now im afraid of the dark

im not ready for my moonlight motel nor am i ready for his

Bruce Springsteen taught me how to be a grown up and how to not be afraid to age

but now im not prepaired for any body to get old

 

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You take the words I want to write and write them better.

Love you, Brother.

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Nice work, @Jerseyfornia  

I appreciate the depth of your words.

I've always felt ToL was my Springsteen record, and always will, so I very much "get" what you are saying.

Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive.

'box.

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There are two people that are not allowed to get old.

Bruce and JF. 

One writes songs better than anyone else the other just writes better than anyone.

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JF, you've summed up this outstanding album for me so well. It's come at the right time. Glad it wasn't 7 years ago.

Thanks for summing yourself up too. Keep riding easy.

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Love the post @Jerseyfornia. The journey doesn’t end here. 

The characters in Western Stars aren’t forlorn or morose. There is something that keeps them going, even if it is fading memories. They are still worth reliving.

Bruce revisits the theme of redemption. There is hope.

We should take that with us.

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Thanks for sharing your story, JF.  I think you would make a great ghost writer for Bruce, if you aren't already.   I pray that we all get to ride down easy.

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Don’t  think I’ve ever read such heartfelt words on here.

I think most of us of a certain age can relate to at least some of the sentiments expressed. I know that I definitely can.

Good luck on your continuing journey through the shit life throws at us. We’re damned lucky to have Bruce along with us for the ride.

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1 hour ago, Jerseyfornia said:

   Ride me down easy, ride me down easy, friend
   Tonight, the western stars are shining bright again…

Bruce Springsteen is old. Some might call it an impolite remark to make, but I think referring to someone as old is only an insult if you mean for it to be. Springsteen is old and I’m thankful for it, proud of him for lasting so long in a business that eats the flesh off the bones of its best, inspired that he’s still got something to tell me, even after all these long years and all those long, long talks. No one stays young forever, but far too many die before they get old and I am grateful that the only true hero I’ve ever had is alive and well and...fucking old. The characters in his latest songs are old, too; most of them. All our lives we’re taught to listen to our elders. I’m listening, Bruce; I’m still listening.

I’ve been playing catch up, or follow-the-leader, with Springsteen’s music all my life. He’s seventeen years older than I am so, naturally, his characters have always outpaced my own life experiences and emotional maturity. I’ve loved his music since I was a kid and most of his albums have, at one time or another, been the album I needed when I reached a certain age or had a specific life experience, but never in their own time. Born To Run belonged to me, but not in 1975 when it was new and I was nine. The River was my Bible, but not until I hit the road in 1982. I grew into his records, all of them. I still remember the day, heartbroken and suddenly more a man than I had been the night before, when I finally heard Tunnel of Love as if it were written for me, as if there was a secret message there for only the lonely. It felt like slipping into an old, much-loved pair of boots that you’ve finally broken into the perfect fit. Springsteen’s a hell of a shouter, but he also has a way of whispering in your ear, sometimes for a very long time, until one day you realize he’s whispered his secret right into your blood.

I gave up waiting for Bruce Springsteen to give me the record I needed to hear at exactly the right time of my life so, of course, he’s gone and done just that. He sat on Western Stars for a long time before finally releasing it and, as frustrated as I may have been about that a time or two, I’m glad of it. I don’t think I would have been ready for this record seven years ago. I’d have been growing into it instead of being absorbed into it.

Western Stars is my Bruce Springsteen album. Oh, it’s yours, too, if you want it to be and, really, it’s Bruce’s more than it is anyone else’s, but this is my fucking record. I’ve claimed it with my tears, night after night since its release; with my memories and my pain and it’s claimed me right back for its own, with its truth and its fearlessness. This record is more a mirror than a mural, and in its darkened glass, I am forced to face myself and all my flaws. I’d look away, but I can’t stop listening.

   Thumb stuck out as I go…

He had me at Hitch Hikin’. This song is so close to a time in my life when I was young and free to the point of exhaustion, that some of the phrases could have been lifted from one of my own books. The line about maps and following the weather and the wind is so eerily like something I wrote that it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I was that kid, out on the road, riding along with strangers, going everywhere and nowhere and because I was that kid when I was young, I’m The Wayfarer now that I’m old. That song may be sung to a breezy seventies am radio arrangement, but what a sad, sad thing it can be to finally realize that you want everything you ever ran from, but you don’t know how to have it; you don’t know how to stay still.

Staying still can be hard if you’re born to run. For the restless kind, there’s always something or other to run away from or run away to. On Western Stars, Springsteen paints a series of resigned and mournful portraits of men who ran away; from their homes, their lovers, themselves. I’ve been a runaway all my life. From the time I was small, I would sneak out of the apartment at night and when I was old enough to run and not look back, I hit the road in my sixteenth summer and stayed out long and very late. I’m a Jersey boy, like Bruce, but I went west and got lost and I’ve spent more of my life out here beneath western stars than I spent in my hometown. I wandered the country for six years, as most of you have heard until you’re bored with it, and the only place I ever felt like both a trespasser and a native was in the Mojave desert.

It thrills me to no end that much of this record is set in the desert. I love knowing that if there’s one thing I share with Bruce Springsteen, it’s that trespasser’s kind of love and familiarity that only an eastern dreamer can have with the wild west. Right down to the geography, this record is like a love-letter to me from someone who doesn’t even know I’m alive; but doesn’t want me to give up.

I’ve never told another living soul until this very moment, but I have been near to giving up more than once. More than twice. More than that. Sometimes it was my own fear of the unknown that kept me alive and sometimes it was a deep, hidden hope that life would get better, that I would get better. Sometimes it was something as simple as the wind in my face or a kiss on my lips or a song by Bruce Springsteen. It doesn’t matter why I never took my own life; what matters, at least to me, is that I didn’t do it and I’m still here sucking down air at twice the age everyone thought I’d be dead by.

I’m not quite as old as the men on Western Stars, but I’m getting there quicker than a young person would ever believe possible. Getting old isn’t remarkable to me. It’s wanting to get old that feels remarkable and new. I don’t think about killing myself anymore, not ever, but I do often wonder why I’m here.

I never feel like a loser, but I know I’m not a winner. I’m a talented chef who never holds a job for more than a few years before moving on to the next joint. I’m a good lover who’s lousy at love. I can plot my course by the stars, but I can’t see my way clear to retirement. I live alone, in a small RV, beneath a little tree that hardly shades me from the sun. Other than my motor home and my bike, I don’t own much more than I could strap on my back. I don’t want any more than that. I have a great sense of humor and I laugh a lot, but I cry more nights than I don’t because I can’t stop mourning my dead and I can’t stop mourning the living, either. I hear voices in my head, but I’ve had enough therapy that I recognize them all as my own and they don’t tell me anything anymore that I don’t want to hear. I’ve written four good books hardly anyone has read and I worry, worry, worry that I’ve started chasing my dreams too late, given them too long a head start…like wild horses, just like wild horses.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m every man on this record. I’m the failed writer left with only his song, the failed lover so sure he can change, the tired cowboy still riding on Sunset, the liar spitting up stones, the old soul drinking to his ghosts. I’m wasted youth at middle age and it’s a scary fucking thing, but I’m resigned to getting as old as heaven will allow and wishing on my western stars until every last one of them has fallen from the sky. In a starfall like that, there’s bound to be at least one good wish that doesn’t go wasted, don’t you think? I do. I really, really do.

I don’t care if Bruce Springsteen ever writes another song about muscle cars and dynamos, boardwalks and backstreets, promised lands and hard lands. Hell, I hope he never does, I’m tired of revvin’ my engine and racing in the street. I need this music now. I need these strings, these confessions, these soaring melodies, these stories set in places as wide and dusty as my soul, told about men as lost and lonesome as me.

On Western Stars, Bruce Springsteen says something so true and hard that it scares the living hell out of me. It’s the truth at the heart of the record and it’s the truth of my own heart.

   You fall in love with lonely, you end up that way.

I’m lonely, but I’m free. I’m broken, but I’m strong. Western Stars is full of tough guys who dance and big boys who cry. I think that if I just keep on dancing and, yes, if I keep on crying, too…I’ll find one day when I’m even older than I am right now that time is gonna ride me down easy. Sunshine's gonna stay.

This is my Bruce Springsteen record. As ugly as I think the album cover is, you could stand it at the head of my grave and it would do me just fine.
 

Fucking brilliant post, thank you.

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1 minute ago, newcastle roy said:

Fucking brilliant post, thank you.

Thank you, Roy. 

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@Jerseyfornia I love you brother. I can't imagine a world without you. Ever.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, SteveJhb said:

@Jerseyfornia I love you brother. I can't imagine a world without you. Ever.

 

 

its just too made he doesn't follow the cricket or play rugby (golden oldies of course ;))

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49 minutes ago, Jerseyfornia said:

Too late to turn back now.

Sometimes you're the coyote, sometimes you're the Chihuahua.

i must say your post was fantastic and sad and scary and memorable just like the album in question

but its now 1.38 in the am on a freezing cold night and i couldn't  sleep for thinking and now its too cold to sleep 

its so cold we got up to make hot drinks and sit in the lounge with the heat pump 

here is a picture of frozen Borris under the heat pump

you know the cold of the dessert 

 

15614700381261261445136.jpg

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6 minutes ago, Daisey Jeep said:

its just too made he doesn't follow the cricket

I'm content just following the crickets.

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9 minutes ago, Jerseyfornia said:

I'm content just following the crickets.

Well, you're missing a helluva game between Australia and England right now, believe me... And it looks like the British who's who of TV and music is in the stands.

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where do cricket go in the winter?

i havn't heard one or seen one in the last few weeks or more ?

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Still, I have Western Stars to listen to.

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Bloody hell....that's some piece of writing. And I know what you mean and I'm glad you are here to write the words, glad I read them too. 

Now, despite it being 3pm on a working day, I'm putting the album on again. 

Thank you.

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2 hours ago, Jerseyfornia said:

I’ve been playing catch up, or follow-the-leader, with Springsteen’s music all my life. 

That entire post was something else JF.  

Thank you for once again sharing your very private thoughts and feelings so beautifully.  

The above sentence of yours is one I have articulated many, many times.  I was 14 in 1974 when I got on the Bruce train.  He’s ten and a half years older than me, and I too have always thought of his music as my guidepost.  

Every album came out exactly when I needed it (TR quite literally saved my sanity and my life) and this one was no exception.  

May your Sunshine always stay. 

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