Hornsby releases a boxed set to celebrate twenty years as a recording artist

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:: Bruce Hornsby :: Vilar Center For The Arts :: September 14 ::
:: Chautauqua Auditorium :: September 15 ::
:: Telluride Blues and Brews :: September 16 :: 

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By Jonathan Keller

Bruce Hornsby is a simple man with a delicate southern drawl, but don’t let that fool you. He is also an intellectual and extremely studious musician. He is a musician’s musician and uniquely original. It would be safe to say Hornsby is an American music original because he embraces all forms of music with no prejudice, and that is what America is supposed to be all about — a melting pot of everything. Hornsby’s musical career has been and still is a melting pot of musical styles and genres. His new boxed set, Intersections 1985-2005, is a testament to that. 

With the release of Intersections, Hornsby’s musical legacy is finally compiled in a cohesive four-CD, one-DVD boxed set, which was released by RCA/Legacy in late July. The boxed set was Hornsby’s idea to commemorate his 20 years as a recording artist. Hornsby and friend/drummer John Molo hand-picked the entire track list from a vault of live and studio recordings Hornsby has accumulated over the past two decades. Hornsby felt this project was a way for people to see what he has been up. “Over the past 10 years my music has evolved to a point where most people don’t know about,” said Hornsby in a recent interview with The Marquee. “I thought this was the time for me to release a document that defined what I do — a collection of definitive performances. This boxed set is not a stroll down memory lane, rather an artistic statement in the present.”

A distant relative of baseball Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, Bruce Hornsby was a student of the piano at an early age and made music his chosen profession when he attended three highly regarded schools of music after high school, the University of Richmond, Berklee College of Music, and the University of Miami, from which he graduated in 1977. Upon graduation, Hornsby moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a studio musician and songwriter before eventually moving back to his native southern Virginia. It was there that he found his own voice, which most listeners are familiar with through his group, Bruce Hornsby & the Range.

One of music’s most in-demand side men, Hornsby is a three-time Grammy winner who has sold more than 10 million records since his multi-platinum debut, The Way It Is, in 1986. One of Hornsby’s greatest strengths is that he has always drawn from a wide array of influences — including jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, rock, and even vaudeville — all the while bringing his patented blend of playful lyrical voicing and formidably refined musical ability into the fold. The man knows how to write a radio hit, but as he has shown, it is not the radio hit that defines you as a musician.

Most widely known for his pop-writing prowess in the 1980s, with a string of Top-5 hits including “The Way It Is,” “Mandolin Rain” and ‘The Valley Road,” Hornsby has never been pegged down to a specific genre. In addition to his early radio hits, he has also been an irregular member of the Grateful Dead and The Other Ones and has had collaborations with a slew of artists ranging from  Ricky Skaggs to Roger Waters, all of which are featured on Intersections 1985-2000. Collaborations are something that Hornsby has always been eager to pursue.

“I just love music — the sounds of different styles. I am constantly searching and pursuing new music,” said Hornsby. “I enjoyed listening to bluegrass when I was younger. I did an interview once where they asked me what albums I would take to a deserted island and I said the first one would be Keith Jarrett’s Sun Bear Concerts and the second would be Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will The Circle Be Unbroken. Well, someone read that interview and when they (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) decided to do Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. II, I jumped on the opportunity.”

What resulted in that collaboration was a re-recording of his track “Valley Road” which won a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Recording.

In keeping true to his nomadic spirit, Hornsby has two new albums awaiting release, a bluegrass album with Ricky Skaggs and a jazz album with Jack DeJohnette and Christian McBride. Both are slated for release in 2007.

With much respect from a variety of musical communities, multi-platinum album success and constant requests for side work, Hornsby summed up his career as only he could: “I just want to be remembered as someone who created his own area in music as a songwriter and a piano player. Plus, I get to be a kid for a living. What could be better than that?”

           

:: Bruce Hornsby ::

:: Vilar Center For The Arts :: September 14 ::

:: Chautauqua Auditorium :: September 15 ::

:: Telluride Blues and Brews :: September 16 ::

 

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