Watch Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Western Stars’ Video
"Western Stars" follows "Tuscon Train," "There Goes My Miracle" and "Hello Sunshine" as singles, and its lyrics are a classic late-period Springsteen character study. Its narrator is an aging actor, thankful that he's still alive but knowing his best days are behind him as he gets recognized for his work in a credit card commercial and getting free drinks off the time his biggest moment of glory: that time he got shot in a movie by John Wayne.
Initially, the sparse sound recalls a more country version of "Devils & Dust," with a piano and pedal steel providing accents. But it slowly builds, with drums arriving for the third verse, after which a full orchestra comes in, falling back for the last verse but returning for the last chorus.
The songs on Western Stars are believed to have been written and recorded around 2012, but remained unheard until now. Its sound, Springsteen has said, was influenced by Southern California pop of the late '60s and early '70s -- Jimmy Webb, Glen Campbell, Burt Bacharach and Harry Nilsson. He's not expected to tour behind it, but last month he said that he's written an album's worth of material for the E Street Band.
On top of that, Springsteen fans will be able to hear his music in theaters with the Aug. 14 release of Blinded by the Light, a movie about a Pakastani immigrant in England in the mid-'80s who becomes liberated after discovering Springsteen's music. The film was based on British journalist Sarfraz Manzoor's memoir, Greetings From Bury Park, and was directed by Gurinder Chadha of Bend It Like Beckham fame.