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A sweet Southern surprise... New Joe Ely recording, featuring Bruce Springsteen, drops today

May 22, 2024

Today Joe Ely, the great Texas-based singer-songwriter and longtime friend of Bruce Springsteen, officially announced the August 2 release of his next album, Driven To Drive. In conjunction with the announcement, Ely also released the first advance single from the album, "Odds of the Blues," featuring supporting vocals by Springsteen.

"Driven to Drive is Ely’s first road album," reads the official announcement posted on Joe's website, "featuring a collection of songs inspired by his travels from different eras of his illustrious career which spans five decades. Along with the announcement, he has shared the official video for the album’s first single 'Odds of the Blues' (feat. Bruce Springsteen). The video was directed by Matthew Eskey and pulls from home video footage shot by Joe Ely, his wife Sharon and their families over the years." (You can watch it below:)

While the video's anachronous mix of Super-8-film-style framing and effects with obviously videotaped vintage footage is at least a bit off-putting, who really cares when the music's this good? Ely and Springsteen blend together very well on this tasty slice of country-blues-rock.

“I got the idea for the song from hanging out at an all night after hours joint on the edge of east Lubbock called TV's," says Ely in the official announcement. "[T]here was always a dice game in the back room, the pool table had a bad lean, and the jukebox mainly played old blues songs. I wrote the song later when I put my studio together in Austin. I asked Bruce recently if he would like to sing with me on this song and he said he’d love to. We’ve been long lost friends for a long time. One of my memories of us singing together was in Dublin, Ireland when we both got on stage with Jerry Lee Lewis and Shane MacGowan and sang ‘Great Balls of Fire.’”

In anticipation of today's announcement/video-drop, last night Joe Ely's official Facebook page also posted this additional video memory from the autumn of 2001, featuring Ely and Springsteen delivering a great live version of "All Just To Get You," Ely's song that they recorded together for his 1995 album Letter to Laredo:


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