Bruce recorded the song with The Seeger Sessions Band for his 2006 album We Shall Overcome: The album was recorded over the course of nine years at Thrill Hill East, Springsteen's home studio in Colts Neck, NJ: During these sessions, all of the album's songs were cut live in the living room of Springsteen's farmhouse – they were not rehearsed and all arrangements were conducted by Springsteen as he and the band played them. "We were doing trapeze without a safety net," Sam Barfeld told Backstreets magazine. "He plays the song for you once, a couple of arrangement ideas. Have enough time to scrawl out a chord chart, and then boom! You record."
'How can I keep from singing' was recorded during the third session
First Session : 02/11/1997
- Soon after the conclusion of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's short Vote For Change Tour, Springsteen was liaising with manager Jon Landau regarding material for a potential future second volume of the Tracks boxed set. Some of the leftover material from the 02 Nov 1997 session was being evaluated and out of those discussions came the idea of releasing this session material as a stand-alone album project. "Thanks to Jon Landau for another one of his 'I think we've got something here...' phone calls," Springsteen later wrote in the liner notes of the 2006 album.
Second Session: 19/03/2005
There were not enough songs recorded on 02 Nov 1997 to fill an album, so the original 1997 musicians were contacted again and an additional recording session took place on 19 Mar 2005, just prior to Springsteen embarking on his Devils & Dust Solo Acoustic Tour. Nine songs were recorded during the second session: ERIE CANAL, JOHN HENRY, O MARY DON'T YOU WEEP, PAY ME MY MONEY DOWN, OLD DAN TUCKER, FROGGIE WENT A COURTIN', SHENANDOAH, MRS. MCGRATH, and MICHAEL ROW YOUR BOAT ASHORE
. Eight of the songs recorded during this second session ended up on the album.
Third Session: 14/01/2006
Biographer Dave Marsh interviewed Bruce Springsteen on 20 Apr 2006 at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ, during Springsteen and The Seeger Sessions Band's preparation for that night's first public rehearsal for the upcoming tour. The interview aired three days later on Marsh's own radio show, Kick Out The Jams. In that interview, Springsteen said that "[Patti Scialfa] just did a beautiful job. So it was exciting, because when you can get a lot of people singing together, that choral sound of human voices is always something. It always ends up very personal, very human."
Bruce performed the song 3 times:
2006-05-09 LSO St. Luke's, London, England
2006-05-08 Hammersmith Apollo, London, England
2006-05-07 Manchester Evening News Arena, Manchester, England
Live premiere of "How Can I Keep From Singing?", with Patti Scialfa on lead vocals