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Confessions of a Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemons-loving Quilt Magazine Editor

19 Jun 2011

I’m just so sad. I feel like there was a huge earthquake in the universe, shifting the axis of the earth so suddenly and abruptly, I have to find my footing again (and I know I’m far from alone). Anyone who might read my blog or catch my editor letter from time to time might know I am a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.

Shot I took in August 2009 in Mansfield, MA.

Behind any great musician are the talented, inspiring band mates, and for Bruce, one key friend was most certainly the Big Man, Clarence Clemons. Like most everyone in E Street Nation, I am just devastated about his passing. Things will never, ever be the same again. I think about the Big (and gentle) Man who was such an icon and powerhouse behind Bruce and the E Street, and how many of Bruce’s songs would have felt so flat without that powerful, joyful saxophone bringing it home and celebrating the stories of those songs.

Spoiled me, I caught not one, but two Bruce concerts in 2009 in Boston, yet it was clear Clarence was in pain, given the way he shuffled around on stage (no pun intended). As geeky as it is to admit, I actually pinched myself during the last concert I attended in August 2009; I think I knew on some level it would be the last time I would see them all together (sadly, minus keyboardist Danny Federici).

Art quilter Katie Pasquini Masopust shared once that when she free-motion quilts, she turns up the stereo volume and just rocks out as it helps her to get in the groove of stitching. I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I get to business with my Bernina, I crank up the sound on my Bose speakers and most times listen to Bruce and the E Street. So here’s my E Street playlist for getting into the stitching zone (many but not all including Clarence and his saxophone work):


“Thunder Road”

“Sherry Darling”

“Girls in Their Summer Clothes”

“Paradise by the ‘C”


“Blood Brothers”

“Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”

“Out in the Street”

“The Ties That Bind”

“Independence Day”

“New York Serenade”

“Blood Brothers”

“Independence Day”

“Brother Under Bridges”

“If I Should Fall Behind”

I will sorely miss you, Clarence. Thanks so much for your inspiration and your music.


Are you an E Street fan or are there other tunes that inspire you when quilting? I hope you will share…

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MellyT wrote
on 20 Jun 2011 5:25 AM

Oh Pokey! I know what Rock and Roll and Bruce and his band mean to you.

on 20 Jun 2011 7:31 AM


When I heard on the news that Clarence had died, I thought about his band family and then I thought about you. There are moments in time and in history that for reasons we can't always explain, impact us so greatly that we know we will always remember the time and how we felt.

For whatever reason, this is one of those important marking points for you. And like all artists..and Clarence was one, but then so are need to use those feelings, that marker..and make a quilt. Make an art quilt that expresses who he was/you are..because of him and Bruce and the blended energy that is simply part of the bigger energy that is you, Pokey Bolton.

Blessings and healing thoughts to you....from Michele in Salem Oregon

Lindy101 wrote
on 20 Jun 2011 7:46 AM

I am an eclectic quilter/music listener. In my studio stash of cds you will find Andrea Bocelli and Madonna, Kim Hill and sound track from Out of Africa  (and many other movies). I will hopefully soonbe able to add Scotty McCreery's first collection, right next to Bach's sonatas. Sometimes I need jazzing up, other times I need mellowing out. I seem to free motion quilt best with 'spa' music in the background!

cindyl57 wrote
on 20 Jun 2011 12:38 PM

A sad day for Bruce fans. We played a Bruce and E Street band CD yesterday in honor of the Big Man.

I listen to live Grateful Dead concerns while quilting. I sometimes listen to my large collection of live Phish shows, too. But I really get into a creative groove with the Dead.

Munderw761 wrote
on 20 Jun 2011 3:09 PM

There will NEVER be a band as great. I have been blessed to have seen Clarence perform in the early days and later days. One of the concerts 28 years ago I stood inline for tickets for hours then checked in at the hospital for my C-section !! Told them I get there as soon as I had my tickets to see Bruce and the band.

on 20 Jun 2011 3:37 PM

I am so sorry, Pokey. It is very hard to lose someone who is so talented, and who is so much a part of your life and your memories. I felt great pain when LeRoi, sax player for Dave Matthews Band, died in 2008. Hope they are up in heaven together jamming!

on 21 Jun 2011 2:24 PM

As soon as I read about the loss of Clarence Clemens I thought of you.  It is a huge loss.  Hard to imagine the E Street Band without him.

on 27 Jun 2011 12:03 PM

Hello Pokey,

I was very lucky to see Bruce and his E-street band in Belgium 3 times. I will be a fan till my last day. And I am also very sad about the death of Clarence Clemons. I think it will be a great loss for his family and friends;

Chris from Belgium

C. Wood wrote
on 29 Jun 2011 12:38 PM

I wanted to post this link for you - Bruce's eulogy for Clarence.: