My heart’s dark but it’s rising…

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There isn’t much left to be said for what Bruce Springsteen represents to someone like me who has felt the words and passion and righteousness in his message – especially in crisis times, like now in America.

We’ve all had some lonesome days recently.

“The Rising” will conclude my month-long #MusicalNes journey because it’s the last great album I have in my collection. When local music legend David Geller asked for my #AlmostFamous “most influential albums of my life” input on Facebook, after first declining and whining, I soon realized I could tell the “why” behind this incredible music and share the narrative of music in my life. I am grateful that you’ve come along and hope you found some favorites of mine to be favorites of yours!

Albums are now passé and this now 18-year old epic E Street reflection on 911 and life in America is the final essential healing.

Springsteen was 52 years old when he wrote this album.

I turn 52 in October.

This was the bookend of my adulthood with Springsteen. Emotive, reflective, deeply painful, yet there’s a lotta hope and youthful energy in there, too!

In the music. In the words. In the intent. In the spirit.

Bruce emoting the existential crisis of surviving – and the broken glass aftermath of sudden loss. And, then, how to somehow forge on with energy and dignity and courage while waiting on a sunny day.

Hard times, baby, well they come to us all…

My two favorite tracks would only be recognizable to real Bruce Springsteen fans: “My City of Ruins” and “Mary’s Place.” These are among my favorite Bruce songs in a catalog full of classics.

Drop the needle and pray…

C’mon, rise up! Rise up!

I have seen a hundred Bruce shows all over the world. As my pal says, “I need some Bruce juice!” And you never know what you’re going to get – from a stadium in New Zealand with 75,000 people with tears in their eyes singing “My City of Ruins” to a Broadway stage off Times Square with a few hundred people seeing the love in his eyes for his wife – but you’re always going to get 101% of whatever the Springsteen mojo is that evening.

Passion. Energy. Hope. Love. Trust. Faith. Fear.

And then having the strength and will to overcome that fear.

Variety and evolution and re-invention and fearlessness, that’s what has always made Springsteen relevant and eternally current.

Awful things happen and then you have to reassess, readjust and honor memories and move forward with a new sense of purpose. It has been two decades now since the 911 tragedies and we are almost four years into this disastrous presidency and awful period in our country.

In all of our collective lives and spirit, perhaps this whole journey has been about finding the other side of that tunnel, when you can’t see nothing in front of you and can’t see nothing coming up behind?

The rising is about the faith to walk toward the fire with courage.

Moving forward, I might write a weekly or a “whenever-I-feel-the-mood-to-geeze” bonus album series because there are at least 20 more artists and CDs that I would love to write about and raconteur a bit. Whole swaths of Billy Joel, Styx, Foreigner, David Bowie, Sinatra, The Beatles, Buffett, Elvis and all kinds of stuff is missing from this Top 32. Not to mention Jellyfish, The Alarm, The Black Crowes, Crack The Sky, Adam and The Ants, David Cassidy and a whole bunch of music you might not be too familiar with but certainly worth sharing and owning.

But, given the circumstance of our city and country and world, I’m fully re-engaging back onto Baltimore Positive and #TogetherNes.

I plan to come on up for the rising, myself, so stay tuned.

Bruce began writing all of this in the days after 9/11 but was inspired when a stranger pulled up to him at a red light, rolled down his window and said: “We need you now!”

Springsteen wrote this as medicine – and to inspire!

Go listen to it.

We have an election today.

And do what you can to make the world a better place.

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