A few weeks back I was hanging out with Steve and Rory, having a great kickoff to summer BBQ on Steve’s awesome terrace of his apartment. In addition to grilling and beer, we were also rocking out to some Bruce and other tunes. Steve started talking about how certain songs reminded him of exact moments and exact times. I tried to think of some songs that did that to me, but was drawing a blank. I had certain songs that reminded me of girls I liked, or fun parties where that particular song was played. But that’s mostly because I’m a narcissistic jackass and relate everything back to me. I really couldn't think of anything that just took me to another place and time that was unique to me.
About a week or so ago, it was a late Friday afternoon and I was getting close to the end of the day at work. I still had about two more hours to kill, and was just not feeling it at all. I was lazily doing mindless paperwork while listening to E Street Radio on SiriusXM. I wasn't really paying attention to the radio, they were playing a concert from The Seeger Sessions Band tour, May 8th 2006, London, UK. Then all of a sudden I just started thinking of my grandfather. My grandparents lived in upstate New York, and I remember for two weeks every summer my brother and I would go up there to give my parents a break. My grandfather was never one for pop music, he mostly listened to old Celtic classics and Irish ballads. But there was one artist he loved: Johnny Cash. And that’s when I realized that Bruce was covering Johnny Cash’s “Long Black Veil.” Through subsequent research I've learned that "Long Black Veil" is a 1959 country ballad, written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin and originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell. It was made famous when Cash covered it with Joni Mitchell. But to me this will always be a Johnny Cash song, and one I first heard at my grandparents' house when I was probably around seven or eight years old listening to this song with my Pop.
I've been listening to this song on YouTube over and over again. Apparently Bruce played this a few times during the European Leg of the Sessions Band tour, and then just dropped it. If it wasn’t for the modern technology of SiriusXM and YouTube I would never even know of this Bruce cover. I’m glad I discovered this as this might be my new favorite cover Bruce has done.