By: G. H. Harding
Bruce Springsteen

SPRINGSTEEN & I --- Our friends at Eagle Rock last week released Springsteen & I. Fully endorsed by the artist; the DVD is a unique music documentary celebrating the music icon. The film has already enjoyed a very successful theatrical release grossing over $2.5 million in cinemas in 50 countries since its release this past July. Working with the filmmakers, Spinsgteen’s fans have helped create a film that reflects on their personal experiences to explore what this timeless performer means to them amidst amazing performance footage.

The experiences that form the emotional core of the film are moving, and at times humorous and all are quite extraordinary insights and stories that come from the heart. Created by his fans … for his fans, you can’t help but feel the passion that went into the making of it.

Executive producer, Ridley Scott, said, “This beautifully crafted film provides a unique insight into the powerful bond between a recording artist and those who connect so profoundly with his music.”

USA Today highlighted the “plethora of unseen material even the die-hards haven't laid eyes on yet” which includes footage of unseen Springsteen performances of classics such as “Dancing In The Dark,” “Born In The USA,” “I’m On Fire,” “Born To Run,” “The River,” “Thunder Road,” “Spirits In The Night,” and many more.

The bonus features include six tracks from Springsteen’s 2012 Hyde Park performance: “Thunder Road”; “Because The Night”; “Shackled & Drawn” and “We Are Alive”, and “Twist and Shout” and “I Saw Her Standing There” accompanied by Paul McCartney sharing vocals. There is also additional fan contributions not included in the film.

Springsteen & I is a celebratory experience that wears its heart on its sleeve. NME said the film perfectly captured “the stomach-flipping feeling you get when Springsteen straps on a guitar.” Director Judd Apatow called the film “a great music doc. Really moving, it rocked. There is nobody like Springsteen.”

After viewing this film, it makes me wish that Denny Tedesco’s terrific Wrecking Crew documentary film could find a release like this. That’s another, loving tribute … even Letterman talked about it on his show last week.

COUNTING STARS --- One of the best and strongest new bands of the last several years is back with just a stunner of an album; Native, from One Republic. When I first heard track “Counting Stars,” on the radio, I was amazed at its infectious rhythmic structure, as well as some great lyrics. Turns out, the rest of the CD is chock full of even more great material.

Fronted by Ryan Tedder, he says he’s most excited for fans to hear the first track on the new record, "Counting Stars," a song that sounds like One Republic's attempt at indie folk — acoustic guitars, shouted harmonies, Lumineers-inspired "heys" and Mumford-like builds, sure, but the soaring pop melodies, too.

"We put 'Counting Stars' out first because that was the song that consolidated and explained the eclectic nature of the album," said Tedder. "Obviously I love big pop melodies, but it's not that simple. If you don't like 'Counting Stars,' you won't likely be into the rest of the album. That song is my personal favorite, if not one of my two favorites."

Sure enough, it's an extremely effective song — with Tedder's polished pop hijacking a folk song, and a little R&B attitude in there as well. It's the new album's most instantly likable song, besting "If I Lose Myself" and its near-ambient mainstream pop and "Au Revoir" and its Coldplay-familiar piano pop.

"Stars" is also the album's biggest departure from One Republic's previous work, and when you're Tedder — writing/producing for your own band and many others in Top 10's all over the world — keeping things somewhat-fresh is essential.

"I don't want to beat my sound into the ground," he said. "If you don't evolve, you're a couple moments away from dying musically. I'd rather take a big swing and have a big miss rather than somebody saying that it sounds like 'Secrets' or 'Good Life Part 3' or 'Apologize Part 2.' " Good stuff for sure!

CLOSING NOTES --- Next weekend is Steve Walter’s presentation of Rolling Stones Ron Wood and Mick Taylor at his club, The Cutting Room. Should be epic for sure…

In Friday’s interview of former-top cop Bernard Kerick with NBC’s Matt Lauer, he didn't once mention the wrongs he'd done as Police Commissioner; rather, he talked about how bad the prison system is. I sense Dr. Conrad Murray may be next as the redemptive poster boy of the year...

Good to hear from Yorkshire Publishing's Roger Chasteen who says he's got a hot book release within the next four weeks. Details to follow...

Congrats to last night's You Tube Music Awards with Lady Gaga and Eminem (Artist of the Year). It was streamed live and was a pretty good show...

This weekend's Saturday Night Live, with Kerry Washington as host was pretty good too. Eminem guested as music performer and did his new single "Berzerk." The opening sketch was a inside-joke on the rampant stories about how the show couldn't find a black comedian to add to their cast. They had Washington quickly playing Oprah and Michelle Obama. Intriguing for sure ... and, having Reverend Al Sharpton opening the show just sharpened the message. An underlying theme of diversity was there throughout the show. Certainly their best episode of the season so far...

New pub date for Mark Bego and Debby Campbell's joint book on Glen Campbell, Burning Bridges, January 30 via Omnibus Books...