If you’ve had your fill of turkey, touchdowns and tackling bargains at Target, and you’re a Bruce Springsteen fan, you won’t want to miss the HBO debut of The Ties that Bind tonight, Friday, November 27, 2015 (9:00 – 10:00 p.m.). Check listings for repeat playdates on HBO in the weeks ahead, as well as its upcoming availability on HBO GO and HBO NOW.
Directed by Grammy and Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny and executive produced by Springsteen, Jon Landau and Barbara Carr,The Ties That Bind explores the genesis of Bruce Springsteen’s seminal 1980 double album, “The River” in the best way possible…through his first-person memory bank. And that “bank” is rich, believe me. Sitting outdoors on what appears to be a bucolic summer day, with guitar in hand, Springsteen recalls the personal and professional challenges he faced as a newly minted 30-year-old, and how that pivotal age triggered his drive for maturity both on-stage and off and impacted the subsequent release of “The River.”
Springsteen’s reflections on the roadblocks he encountered are refreshing as are his quiet acoustic interludes showcasing the evocative lyrics to key songs in ‘The River.” Rare period stills; shots of his original handwritten lyrics with edits on loose leaf paper; and concert, rehearsal and recording session clips and outtakes filmed during the period leading up to and following the album’s release counterpoint Springsteen’s recollections.
The Ties That Bind will not only be fertile ground for musicians and fans familiar with Springsteen’s songbook, but also for budding music producers and lyricists and creative writers in general. Springsteen succinctly articulates the evolution of his lyrics and themes and the false starts that all led up to “The River” as we now know it. The pains he took to get everything, including the individual tracks and parameters of the album, just right define what it means to be an artist and not a hack with a short shelf life.
Even if you know little about Bruce Springsteen, I guarantee that after viewing this film you’ll better appreciate his skills as a poet, bandleader and music producer; his respect for the footprint of his musical predecessors; his passion for social relevance; and the powerful resonance of his mature voice, as he sings solo with his acoustic guitar and a chorus of birds chirping innocently in the background. The latter musical interludes are priceless!
The Ties that Bind debuts on HBO tonight, Friday, November 27, 2015 (9:00 – 10:00 p.m.). Check listings for repeat playdates on HBO in the weeks ahead, as well as the film’s upcoming availability on HBO GO and HBO NOW.–Judith Trojan