HOMESTEAD

Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers' album version


I was born in the corn fields of Kentucky
I moved north in '73
The war was still going strong so I found a job
Rolling steel in a foundry in Homestead

I worked beside a guy named Grzbowski
Who taught me how to keep safe
He said, "there's many a man who lost the fingers from their hands"
You could wind up crippled or dead in Homestead

And the steel glowed in the white hot chambers
The furnace spit fire and smoke
And the sunlight came through the cracks in the roof
And the dust was so thick you could choke

I heard all the old stories about the twelve hour shifts in the mill
And all the union brothers the Pinkertons tried hard to kill
Heard about Frick and Carnegie the day the river ran red
How the union caved in in Homestead

It was more than a job, it was my family
I got married, settled down, bought a home
And in the bars down the street, in the late summer heat
I never had to feel alone

I got work tearing those old mills down
'Til there's nothing left but the sweat and blood in the ground
At night we tuck our little babies in bed
We still pray to the red, white and blue in Homestead

(Na na na na-na na)
In Homestead (I'm still living in Homestead)
??? (Na na na na-na na)
In Homestead (I'm still living in Homestead)
(Na na na na-na na)
In Homestead (I'm still living in Homestead)
Still living in (Na na na na-na na)
I'm still living in Homestead (I'm still living in Homestead)


Info

HOMESTEAD is a song co-written by Joe Grushecky and Bruce Springsteen in Los Angeles in late 1993, with Springsteen providing most of the music and Grushecky most of the lyrics. The song is about "a little steel town back in Pittsburgh called Homestead," as Grushecky described it. It was released on Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers' 1995 album American Babylon. Bruce Springsteen produced all the album except the title track, and he participated in the recording of most of the songs. He plays guitar, harmonica, and mandolin on HOMESTEAD.

The above lyrics are for Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers' album version of HOMESTEAD as released in 1995.

Bruce Springsteen recorded HOMSTEAD in studio in 1995. See the unofficial studio version for more details.

American Babylon

In late October and early November 1993, Bruce Springsteen (with Toby Scott recording and Bob Clearmountain mixing) produced a recording session for Joe Grushecky at Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio) in Beverly Hills, CA. Off the session, two tracks would be released on Grushecky's next album, American Babylon: CHAIN SMOKIN' and NEVER BE ENOUGH TIME. Springsteen played guitars, keyboard, and percussion on the first track, and guitar on the second. In addition to Springsteen, Grushecky's backing band for this session consisted of musicians organized by Springsteen that he is believed to have utilized for some of his own scattered studio sessions during the period: Zack Alford on drums, Jerome Smith on bass, and Leon Pendarvis on keyboards. Although originally planned as a "one-off", this session with Grushecky turned out to be the start of a major side project undertaking for Springsteen.

Around February 1994, Springsteen (with Toby Scott recording and Bob Clearmountain mixing) produced a further recording session for Joe Grushecky at Thrill Hill Recording. Off the session, one track would be released on American Babylon: HOMESTEAD, a song Springsteen and Grushecky had co-written together during the previous few months. Springsteen played guitar, harmonica, and mandolin on the track. In addition to Springsteen, Grushecky's backing band for this session consisted of musicians organized by Springsteen that he was utilizing for his own scattered studio sessions of the period: Shayne Fontaine on guitar, Zack Alford on drums, TM Stevens on bass, and Leon Pendarvis on keyboards.

Around August 1994, Springsteen (with Toby Scott recording and mixing) produced a further recording session for Joe Grushecky at Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio) in Rumson, NJ. Off the session, five tracks would be released on American Babylon: DARK AND BLOODY GROUND (with Springsteen playing guitars and sharing harmony vocals), LABOR OF LOVE (with Springsteen playing guitars and mandolin), WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR (with Springsteen playing guitar), BILLY'S WALTZ (with Springsteen playing mandolin), and ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (with Springsteen playing guitar). The first was co-written by Springsteen and Grushecky. In addition to Springsteen, unlike the previous two sessions held on the west coast, the backing musicians for the east coast sessions consisted of The Houserockers, Grushecky's own Pittsburgh-based band.

Around October 1994, Springsteen (with Toby Scott recording and mixing) produced a further recording session for Joe Grushecky at Thrill Hill Recording. Off the session, three tracks would be released on American Babylon: COMIN' DOWN MARIA, TALK SHOW, and NO STRINGS ATTACHED. The Houserockers were again the session's backing band. But contrary to previous sessions, Springsteen did not play on any of these three recordings, although his wife Patti Scialfa provided backing vocals on the first track.

Although the album was essentially completed at this stage, and filed with the US Copyright Office on 13 Dec 1994, Grushecky had trouble finding an interested record company. "We got turned down by everybody, I mean everybody. That's another reason why it took so long [for release]; I didn't have any funding," Grushecky commented in an interview. "Right around the turn of the year [Dec 1994 - Jan 1995] Pinnacle UK became involved and we knew we had a home for the project".

The final overdubbing/mixing sessions for American Babylon took place around April 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, and the album was released in October 1995 on Pinnacle Records, and reissued in 2004. The album's title track, AMERICAN BABYLON, is the only one not produced by Bruce Springsteen.

Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers -- American Babylon (album cover art)
Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers -- American Babylon (album cover art)

Excerpts from all American Babylon tracks (except TALK SHOW and BILLY'S WALTZ) appear on American Babylon In Conversation, a UK-only promotional CD featuring interviews with both Grushecky and Springsteen recorded on 29 Aug 1995 at Cheers in Long Branch, NJ.

Joe Grushecky and Bruce Springsteen -- American Babylon In Conversation (album cover art)
Joe Grushecky and Bruce Springsteen -- American Babylon In Conversation (album cover art)

Other Official Releases

In addition to its release on American Babylon, the album version of HOMESTEAD was also included on at least two various artists releases.

Various artists -- The Bruce Springsteen Songbook
Various artists -- The Bruce Springsteen Songbook

CD - Connoisseur (VSOP CD 224) - UK, 1996

This is a Bruce Springsteen tribute album.
Various artists -- High Fidelity Reference CD No. 15
Various artists -- High Fidelity Reference CD No. 15

CD - DanDisc / ncb (FAM CD-15) - Denmark, 1996

Various artists CD sampler issued exclusively with the now defunct Danish magazine High Fidelity.

Live History

HOMESTEAD was performed 6 times during the 6-date-long October Assault Tour with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers.

  1. 17 Oct 1995 at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ
  2. 18 Oct 1995 at Tramps, New York City, NY
  3. 19 Oct 1995 at Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
  4. 20 Oct 1995 at Nick's Fat City, Pittsburgh, PA
  5. 21 Oct 1995 at Nick's Fat City, Pittsburgh, PA
  6. 24 Oct 1995 at Park West, Chicago, IL

HOMESTEAD was performed once during The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour, on 16 Sep 1996 in Pittsburgh, PA, with Joe Grushecky guesting on guitar and vocals.

  1. 16 Sep 1996 at Benedum Center, Pittsburgh, PA

HOMESTEAD was performed once during the Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour (72 dates, April to November 2005), on 28 Jul 2005 in Pittsburgh, PA. The song featured Joe Grushecky sharing the microphone with Bruce Springsteen for dueling verses, and also playing guitar and harmonica.

  1. 28 Jul 2005 at Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA

HOMESTEAD was performed during the first (2000), third (2002), fourth (2003), and fifth (2004) annual Light Of Day benefits. The song was played with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers.

  1. 03 Nov 2000 at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ (during the first annual Light Of Day benefit)
  2. 02 Nov 2002 at Tradewinds, Sea Bright, NJ (during the third annual Light Of Day benefit)
  3. 01 Nov 2003 at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ (during the fourth annual Light Of Day benefit)
  4. 06 Nov 2004 at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ (during the fifth annual Light Of Day benefit)

Springsteen also performed HOMESTEAD on several more occasions from 1997 onward, always with Joe Grushecky.

  1. 13 Dec 1997 at Cheers, Long Branch, NJ (with Joe Grushecky)
  2. 02 Mar 1998 at Nick's Fat City, Pittsburgh, PA (with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers)
  3. 17 Jul 2004 at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ (with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers)
  4. 02 Dec 2004 at Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, PA (with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers)
  5. 04 Nov 2010 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers)
  6. 05 Nov 2010 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers)
  7. 03 Nov 2011 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (with Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers)

References

Most info on the recording sessions taken from Brucebase.

Request

If you have any corrections or additional info about this song or the American Babylon recording sessions, please contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.

Available Versions

List of available versions of HOMESTEAD on this website:

HOMESTEAD [Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers' album version]
HOMESTEAD [Unofficial studio version]

Page last updated: 29 Apr 2016