The first ever book by Bruce Springsteen, one of the biggest artists of this generation – published as a picture book for adults.
When Bruce was a little boy, he learned the story of Brave Cowboy Bill,about a pure-hearted little cowboy.
It was the first of Bruce’s Western loves, which now range from John Ford films to Mexican music to Native American art.
Each of these inspirations, plus what he learned as a man and a rock ‘n’ roller about how to combine whimsy and wisdom, were stations on the way to Outlaw Pete, a modern legend of a criminal who starts out in nappies and confronts the roughest edges of adulthood.
It is one of the most ambitious and original story songs Springsteen has ever written – rhapsodic and harsh, a meditation on destiny, filled with absurdities but not for one second of its eight minutes exactly a joke.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Frank Caruso.
His approach, immaculately detailed, simple when it needs to be, parallels Springsteen’s blend of absurdity and meditation.
Reading and listening have rarely so superbly complemented each other.
The result becomes the most intense kind of artistic collaboration, a vision shared.