Springsteen Speaks: The Music of Pete Seeger Bruce Springsteen reinterprets the songbook of American folk legend Pete Seeger on his album We Shall Overcome. He talks about Seeger's music and the importance of an adventurous audience.

Springsteen Speaks: The Music of Pete Seeger

Springsteen Speaks: The Music of Pete Seeger

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Bruce Springsteen performing at the Asbury Park Convention Hall on April 24. Scroll down to read Melissa Block's impressions of the concert. Michael Booth/Coaster hide caption

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More from the Interview

Springsteen on Pete Seeger's Reaction to We Shall Overcome

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Bruce Springsteen first heard the music of Pete Seeger long ago, but it wasn't until the last decade or so that he truly immersed himself in it.

The more he learned about the music the American folk legend collected, performed, rewrote and transformed, the more he returned to it, Springsteen tells Melissa Block. And that got him thinking that perhaps his fans might be interested, too.

On his new album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, Springsteen reinterprets 13 songs from Seeger's songbook.

Springsteen describes the act of making music as "putting on somebody else's clothes." For him, it's an act of imagination, but also one of "tremendous empathy." He explains: "Part of doing your job well is being able to slip into somebody else's shoes and to find out out what you have in common with them — and therefore bringing your audience closer to those characters and those people."

Springsteen assembled an eclectic group of 18 musicians to record the album. The new band features a new sound for Springsteen: It includes accordion, tuba, fiddle, banjo, a washboard — and even the kitchen sink, he jokes.

He sat down with Block in Asbury Park, N.J., ahead of a tour in support of We Shall Overcome. He shares his thoughts on the intricacies of recording Seeger's music, the importance of artistic freedom — and an adventurous audience.

Songs, Then and Now

'We Shall Overcome' (Bruce Springsteen)

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'We Shall Overcome' (Pete Seeger)

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'Jesse James' (Seeger)

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'Jesse James' (Springsteen)

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'Pay Me My Money Down' (Seeger/The Weavers)

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'Pay Me My Money Down' (Springsteen)

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