As we here in the Northeast plan to be buried under a monster blizzard this weekend (most recent inch estimate: 1 meeeeeelllion), Bruce Springsteen is preparing to be honored in L.A. tonight as the MusiCares Person of the Year. While there’s no doubt the proceedings are being filmed, exactly how or when they’ll come up for public consumption remains sketchy. Regardless, it should be quite an event, with tribute performances from the following:
Alabama Shakes, Zac Brown Band, Jackson Browne, Ken Casey, Kenny Chesney, Ben Harper, Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill, Jim James, Elton John, Juanes, John Legend, Natalie Maines, Tim McGraw, Tom Morello, Mumford & Sons, Patti Smith, Mavis Staples, Sting, Eddie Vedder, and Neil Young.
Yes, you read it right — Juanes! (I kid Juanes; I’m sure he’s huge in Colombia.)
Meanwhile, in advance of the event Grammy.com has posted a Danny Clinch-curated photo gallery and a fairly in-depth interview with Springsteen by “Greetings from E Street” author Robert Santelli. Some highlights:
On playing at President Obama’s campaign rallies:
On tour, I don’t quite have an opportunity to reach this varied audience when I’m playing just to my fans. Basically, you walk onstage and you’re looking at this broad spectrum of America. The people may or may not know some of your music. So you’re depending on how good your language is. You need to communicate in a very fresh and direct way. For all three times I’ve helped out on a campaign, that’s what I enjoyed the most.
On staying connected to his roots:
People always ask that question like there’s some trick to it [laughs]. Really, that was something that came very natural to me from the beginning. I could look back and see that there were a lot of my heroes who came before me that got distracted or lost in the confusing life that came with their success. So, I had a deep sense of where my power source was coming from, you know. It came from memory and experience, rooted in geography, locality, a sense of place, a certain people. These are the things that are at the heart of the engine on a nightly basis. Maintaining a connection to those things, to me, was always a survival instinct. It was necessary.
On his changing audience:
Last night in Vancouver, probably 20 percent of the audience had never seen the band with Clarence Clemons before. Amazing. So, there’s this ongoing … I guess you would call it a conversation with your fans that’s always renewing itself. I’ve been dedicated to that my whole life. Why? We can talk about that all night. There’s good reasons, bad reasons, straight-up reasons, convoluted ones, sane ones, insane ones. I think the best way to look at it is this way: onstage, it’s me and it’s this person in the audience, right now, not later, not tomorrow, right now.
Check it out, and congrats to our favorite Person of the Year.