There is a certain kind of Springsteen fan who loves the songs on his 30-million-selling Born in the U.S.A. but can’t stand the album’s highly polished, synthesizer-heavy sheen. That type of fan should be thrilled about the upcoming tribute compilation Dead Man’s Town, out Sept. 16, where a cast of roots-rock luminaries, including North Mississippi Allstars, Low, Nicole Atkins, Blitzen Trapper, Joe Pug, and Trampled by Turtles, offer a stripped-down song-by-song reimagining of Born in the U.S.A. that aims to replicate some of the powerful intimacy of its predecessor, 1982’s Nebraska.
Outlaw country scion Justin Townes Earle is involved, which shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone familiar with his habit of covering Springsteen songs and also of appearing pretty much anywhere rootsy, acoustic-based rock music is being made. For Dead Man’s Town, he gives a bare-bones rendition of “Glory Days” that peels back the original’s feel-good bar-band sound to highlight the small-town pathos at its core. We have the first listen here.