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“One minute you’re here. Next minute you’re gone.” Bruce Springsteen’s latest album, Letter to You, is inspired, in part, by the death of former bandmate George Theiss, a member of Springsteen’s pre-fame band the Castilles. Theiss and Springsteen were the last surviving members of that band, and now Springsteen is, in the title of one of the songs, the “Last Man Standing.”

In response, Springsteen gathered the E Street Band, who he’s worked with since 1972, to create an album that is a thoughtful and somber, yet celebrative reflection on death, aging, and dear friends. He recently rediscovered three of his old songs from the period when he was in the Castilles and recorded them as part of this album too. The result is an album that could only be made by someone of Springsteen’s age and experience. Along the way, Springsteen reminds us of what is good in life and the joy of friends and family in songs like “The Power of Prayer'' and “House of a Thousand Guitars.”

Letter to You is a strong album from an artist with more than a few strong albums and is well worth careful attention. (Columbia)

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