Devils & Dust

Devils & Dust

After the triumph of Bruce Springsteen’s stirring post-9/11 album The Rising—his first record with the E Street Band since 1988’s Tunnel of Love—the Boss decided to shift gears for Devils & Dust. Released in 2005, it’s essentially a solo acoustic album, one that finds Springsteen playing pedal steel and harmonica, and drawing from his existing songwriting archive (as well as tracks composed while he was on the road for 1995’s The Ghost of Tom Joad). There’s a tinge of country music on Devils & Dust, and the occasional drawl. Springsteen’s take on “All the Way Home,” written for fellow Jersey Shore compatriot Southside Johnny back in 1991, updates Southside’s soulful version of the song, turning it into something more modern and alternative. “The Hitter” and “Long Time Comin’,” meanwhile, were both performed live on the Tom Joad tour. The rest of the record is a bit of a grab-bag: There are a few sweet numbers, like “Leah” and “Silver Palomino”—the latter written in tribute to the passing of a friend. “Long Time Comin’” and “Jesus Was an Only Son” touch on the challenges of being in a family and raising children. And the title track is written from the perspective of a veteran of the second Iraq war—the story of a man wrestling with his demons. The themes of personal challenges and individual struggles underlie most of the songs on Devils & Dust, which finds Springsteen occasionally being joined by such collaborators as vocalist Patti Scialfa, drummer Steve Jordan, and bassist (and Devils & Dust producer) Brendan O’Brien. It was a heavy record, thematically speaking, that nonetheless wound up earning Springsteen multiple Grammy nominations, as well as unanimous acclaim—but not without sparking a minor furor, thanks to the song “Reno.” The track describes, in fairly explicit detail, a conversation between a sex worker and her customer. That was enough to convince Starbucks—which had begun selling CDs in its stores, with surprising success—not to put the album on its counters. Even without the coffee chain’s support, though, Devils & Dust debuted at No. 1 on the album charts—more than enough to keep the big-label bean-counters happy.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada