This has come up on both BTX and our old home... the above link is to Brucebase for the Letter To You sessions and contains some interesting info. I'm not sure where / how Brucebase gets this information, but there is some intriguing stuff here.
Namely, One Minute You're Here having been demoed back in 2004. Rainmaker originally demoed / recorded in 2003. And, most interestingly, Burnin Train originally being worked on in 1993.
So on those other boards, there is a lot of negative discussion about what this means. If you haven't read it, you can probably guess... consternation that Bruce asserting he wrote a whole album on a fan provided guitar when he actually only wrote 6 songs maybe, Bruce being washed up as a writer as the last three albums (HH, Western Stars, LTY) all have large parts written years ago rather than contemporaneously. Yada yada yada.
My question is, do folks here care that unheard newly released Bruce music is not necessarily 'new' in the sense that Bruce specifically wrote it all in the months preceding it's release? Because I certainly don't. I have no issue with Bruce releasing decades old music as part of a new project. If he's releasing it, he believes in it. If he believes in it, based on the track record so far I'm most likely going to find something good in some or all of it. Knowing a song is decades old has no impact on how my ears hear it nor how my brain and heart react to it.
I get some fans want to hear where Bruce is 'now', what he thinks about the world (within himself and outside himself) 'now'. But I don't think that necessarily has to be through newly composed music. It's entirely possible something he wrote 10 or 15 years ago may suddenly make more sense to him today than back when he wrote it.
I also get fans being concerned (or at least pointing out) that the well of new inspiration may be drying, Bruce as a writer is now a shadow prolifically to what he was. Again, I don't really mind. If anything, it makes sense. I don't know how a musical artist in any format works... should they have an endless well of lyrics, riffs, melodies they can draw on? Or do they have a finite source of them? Between 1978 and 1984, Bruce officially released 5 single vinyl albums worth of material. Since then, from that same period we have a double CD of 1978 material (so another 2 if not 3 single vinyl albums worth), 20 or so 1980 out-takes (at least 2 more single albums), from 1982-84 we have at least a single vinyl album of out-takes on Tracks with at least the same amount still unreleased. So that's somewhere in the range of a dozen single vinyl albums worth of amazing songs in a six year period. The dude fired a lot of shots in that time, if he only has a finite source of ammo is it any wonder things have slowed down now?
Anyway, interested to know where others stand on this. Upshot for me is I'm happy and glad to hear any Bruce tune I've never heard before, regardless of whether he just wrote it or if he's sat on it for a while and is now choosing to share it.