The Garden State’s own rarely tackle works by Bruce Springsteen, namely for the difficulty of doing such pieces justice as it’s nearly an impossibility to capture the same emotion nor match the energy offered by The Boss, but that didn’t stop the Roadside Graves from taking its shot at the Born In The USA favorite “Downbound Train” for a forthcoming tribute album to Asbury’s favorite son titled Long Distance Salvation, which is due out September 20th.
Aside from John Gleason altering the lyrics to better produce a plot he felt more comfortable with (“the last verse has always bothered me because I couldn’t see the character working at a car wash and then swinging a sledge hammer on a railroad gang,” he admitted to the L.A. music site Aquarium Drunkard), which is reasonable as he did so with artistic purposes in mind, the vocalist appears to be channelling less Springsteen’s soulful spirit and more that of Francis Scott “Off” Key (a horrible joke indeed) making this synth-drenched rendition almost too irritating to see through to the end, a statement this penman is pained to jot as he thoroughly enjoyed the outfit’s live version displayed at an Asbury Lanes stop this past summer.
Regardless, this is merely one writer’s opinion, and you the reader may draw your own conclusions from the download below:
NOTE: This tribute compilation has been made to honor Springsteen’s resort to musical cowboy antics that is Nebraska and Roadside Grave’s contribution will come to it as a bonus track as “Downbound Train” was originally written as a demo for the 1982 release before being held back and included on Born In The USA. Roadside Graves will join the likes of Trampled By Turtles (“Open All Night”) and David Wax Museum (“My Father’s House”) on this charitable compilation that’s proceeds will benefit Project Bread, a non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts.
Pre-order the 14-track collection here.