Broadside with Jim Braude
By Whitney Ferguson | @whitdferguson
Two weeks ago I had the chance, along with Scott Katz, business development manager at Burns & Levinson, to appear on Broadside with Jim Braude, a NECN quiz show. While we were subjected to the “test of tasteless tidbits and trivia from the tabloid trash heap,” we also got to chat Springsteen.
Full disclosure: I’ve been a “true believer” since my college advisor, Lou Masur, introduced me to Bruce. In his book Runaway Dream, Masur muses on Springsteen’s American vision. He begins, “I want ‘Born to Run’ played at my memorial service.” And goes on to examine our shared national identity through the album: “Rebellion in America is itself a tradition. The United States began as a revolt against authority . . . ‘Born to Run’ is a masterpiece embedded with American themes of escaping and searching, redemption and connection. It is an album rooted in American geography that is both physical – highways, roads, streets – and cultural – individuals, community, salvation.”
On the show Braude (to my embarrassment) got it out of me that I was a late convert. Without listening to Bruce, I’d casted him off as an artist for washed-up dads. Now I know that those dads aren’t just reliving their glory days. At each concert Bruce reminds fans of their potential and may just help us revive unrealized dreams.
The American Dream is both revered and debated. Is it still true that we can change our circumstances and better ourselves? With the summer upon us, and two Bruce concerts coming up in Boston, fans have the chance to revisit what Bruce means to each of us. We’re also primed – between Memorial Day, the Fourth and the Olympics – to reflect on how Springsteen’s music reminds us of what being an American means. Do we believe in the American Dream? Can we be redeemed from past sins and failings? Do we need to move and start over, or are we bolstered by our communities? I’m a believer, but regardless of your stance, Bruce lets us examine fundamental questions the fun way - through music. This is why Bruce means so much to so many, and why, though nervous and a little embarrassed, I was delighted to talk about Springsteen with true fans.