Album Rewind: The Ghost of Tom Joad

Released in November of 1995, The Ghost of Tom Joad marked a return toward acoustic, folk, and country influences that were part of Bruce Springsteen’s musical DNA.

The Ghost of Tom Joad plays like a dustbowl love letter to some of Bruce Springsteen’s music heroes. A gut punch to those who were expecting more ’80s excess and pop melancholia that permeated Springsteen albums like Born in the USA, The River, Human Touch, and Tunnel of Love. Returning to the Ghost of Tom Joad is like discovering a hidden gem in the mine of musical creativity.

‘Ghost’ remains a vibrant record not for overabundance in production and sound technology but for simplicity all too missing in contemporary music. This album reminds the listener of the moving nature of voice and guitar. A critique of a music superstar economy that Springsteen himself helped maintain. The Ghost of Tom Joad remains what a truly great record should be, a sound out of time not simply a reflection of the time period in which it was made. For all of these reasons and more, Ghost is a record with a unique pull. And while the album received a fair amount of critical praise upon its release, when discussing Springsteen’s music, The Ghost of Tom Joad is far more likely to be overlooked then explored.

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