For the first time in 18 years, Bruce Springsteen has reunited with his E Street Band for a new studio album. Titled The Rising, much of the CD was influenced by the September 11 terrorist attacks, and how the U.S. has recovered in the wake of the tragedy.

The Rising explores the sorrow, loss, anger and recovery that Americans have been experiencing over the past year. Bruce Springsteen explains his inspiration for the title track. He said, "It's just part of the journey that the record depicts. Everything is not pre-ordained. Fate has not been foretold yet; either your fate or the fate of where we live. It's up for grabs. The stakes are still very, very high, and running every day, you know."

A few days after the events of September 11, the singer was driving near his home, when a fan recognized him and shouted out, "Hey Bruce, we need you." Springsteen admits he was jarred into thinking more about the focus of the new album, which was already in progress.

He phoned the widows of a New York City firefighter and a World Trade Center employee, and the grieving wife of a man who was killed at the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. After the 30-year relationship that he's developed with his audience, Bruce thought it was time to offer his condolences to the country through his music.

"We've worked hard for my music," he continued, "to play a very central and, hopefully, purposeful place in my audience's life, which was sort of a small wake-up call."

After the terrorist attacks, Bruce Springsteen appeared in two televised benefit shows, The Concert for New York City and The Tribute To Heroes telethon. The timing seemed perfect for his type of insightful lyrics and familiar subjects such as hard work, sacrifice and trying to carry on in the face of adversity.

Mr. Springsteen said, "I felt I've always tried to write for my times. I always felt that that was part of the job that I was doing, that I was kind of trying to record a little bit of what it felt like to be a guy my age living in this place, at this time."

As he prepares for a major world tour, Bruce explained the role that he and The E Street Band hope to play onstage. "You're a witness," he said. "You're a witness to your time. You're a witness to events. You're a witness to your neighborhood. You're a witness to what you're doing. And our band, at night, we take the stage as a group of witnesses, really. And our purpose is to make you dance and to testify. That's the crux of what we do. And hopefully, you'll move and be lifted up by the end of the night."

For the second time in his career, Bruce Springsteen is on the cover of prestigious Time magazine. His tour with The E Street Band starts on August 7 in his home state of New Jersey, and will continue into 2003 with stops in Europe and Australia. A new member of the group, Soozie Tyrell, adds violin and background vocals.

In an effort to transcend the feelings of anger and loss, Bruce wrote a song that incorporates the music of the mystical Sufi sect of Islam.