More on Springsteen: Pitchfork weighs in.
On The Seeger Sessions, Springsteen growls, warbles, groans, and gags, sounding often like Tom Waits (check the scratchy, ominous vocals on "Erie Canal") or later Bob Dylan. It's a stark contrast to Seeger's crisp, clear pipes, and it reinvigorates a handful of ancient American tracks. Like any good folk record, The Seeger Sessions tackles the tangle of war, strife, poverty, and unrest, but does so without sacrificing joy or release (really, the very reasons people began singing in the first place). The resulting collection happily drowns out echoes of Springsteen's underwhelming recent efforts, and just might be the very best and most inspiring album Bruce has produced in more than a decade.
Embracing early E Street shuffle and ditching the solemnity of 2005's Devils and Dust, The Seeger Sessions culls from a century of rich, gritty Americana tradition, from bluegrass to country to rhythm and blues to gospel, rock'n'roll, Zydeco, Dixieland, and more. Springsteen is an obvious descendent of folk tradition, but, as he writes in the record's liner notes, this is "street corner music, parlor music, tavern music, wilderness music, circus music, church music, gutter music." Or: The Seeger Sessions is a party record.