“Tucson Train” is on Bruce Springsteen’s new solo album, “Western Skies.”

Bruce Springsteen takes a tour out West on his recently released album “Western Stars” — his first studio album since 2014’s “High Hopes” and his first record of new original songs since he put out “Wrecking Ball” in 2012.

“Western Stars” takes Springsteen back to his roots when he wrote songs populated by working-class guys and girls just trying to get by and figure out life. There’s plenty of heartbreak and making up, including on the album’s months-old second single “Tucson Train.”

“This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements,” Springsteen said in a statement. “It’s a jewel box of a record.”

We’re not really sure what inspired the Tucson reference — as far as we can tell, Springsteen hasn’t played a Tucson show since he sold out the Tucson Convention Center during 1978’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town” tour. But the song conjures up visions of the downtown rail station on East Toole Avenue — especially if you’ve found yourself parked behind the blinking red crossing guard lights as a train rambled along — and a working-class Joe anxiously awaiting love to pull into the station.

In “Tucson Train,” Springsteen writes about finding love on the 5:15 after a crash-and-burn romance in ‘Frisco. “Now I carry my operator’s license / And spend my days just runnin’ this crane / And my baby’s coming in on the Tucson train.”

The song has an almost folksy country-Western feel with sweeping orchestral passages. There are similar full-string compliments on the record, and while Springsteen hasn’t done a whole lot of media around “Western Stars,” he said in an interview with Variety back in December that the record was inspired and influenced by “Southern California pop music of the ’70s” and artists including Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb and Burt Bacharach.

“I don’t know if people will hear those influences, but that was what I had in my mind,” he told the magazine. “It gave me something to hook an album around; it gave me some inspiration to write. And also, it’s a singer-songwriter record. It’s connected to my solo records writing-wise, more ‘Tunnel of Love’ and ‘Devils and Dust,’ but it’s not like them at all. Just different characters living their lives.”

The reviews of “Western Stars” have been mostly positive, with The Associated Press saying the album “breaks fresh ground for the veteran rocker, who turns his back not only on the blistering sound of the E Street Band but also abandons the haunting acoustic moods pioneered on ‘Nebraska’ and fine-tuned on later solo efforts.”

Said the New York Post: “Although Springsteen has ventured into country and folk territory in the past on albums such as 1982’s ‘Nebraska,’ 1987’s ‘Tunnel of Love’ and 1995’s ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad,’ here he brings a cinematic scope to the rootsy terrain with sweeping strings and vivid, scene-setting lyrics.”

Springsteen’s hometown newspaper, The Star-Ledger in New Jersey (NJ.com), called the record the “most disappointing” of Springsteen’s career.

“‘Western Stars’ exhibits no discernible purpose, no new ground covered by the 69-year-old songwriter fresh off his glitzy Broadway run,” it said. “(It) is, ultimately, a tumbleweed — here for a few moments, but soon to be gone and forgotten, swept away by the howling wind that’s already begun to swirl around the news that Springsteen will record with The E Street Band this fall and then head back on the road for a full-band concert tour in 2020.”

26 songs that have the word "Tucson" in them:

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.