Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers
Thursday, June 14 | 8PM
Almost three decades after winning a Grammy for Best New Artist and launching one of contemporary music’s most diverse careers, Bruce Hornsby still makes joyful noise as he discovers clever and expansive ways to chronicle dynamic musical snapshots of his often generously collaborative journey.
Nothing better illustrates this than Hornsby’s communion with his longtime band, the Noisemakers. And nothing catches that connection with more daring fluency than a couple of live collections released eleven years apart; 2011’s Bride of the Noisemakers, a set of concert recordings from 2007 to 2009, and 2000‘s Here Come the Noisemakers, which initially unveiled Hornsby and his band’s free-wheeling live approaches to the Virginia-born pianist and composer’s memorable songs.
Tapping into many of the genres that have influenced Hornsby’s music over the years—pop, jazz, bluegrass, country and modern classical—these collections feature songs from previous releases such as Big Swing Face (2002), Halcyon Days (2004), and Levitate (2009) — as well as from Camp Meeting (2007), which featured bassist Christian McBride and drummer Jack DeJohnette, plus Hornsby’s acclaimed early releases such as Scenes From The Southside (1988), Hothouse (1995), and Spirit Trail (1998).
The Noisemakers are bassist J.V. Collier, a twenty-year veteran of the band, as well as keyboardist/organist John “JT” Thomas and drummer Sonny Emory, who have played with Hornsby twenty-four and twelve years respectively. Summer 2014 marks the arrival of two new Noisemakers — fiddle/mandolin player Ross Holmes and guitarist Gibb Droll — as well as the departures of longtime members Bobby Read and Doug Derryberry. Holmes currently fiddles for Mumford and Sons, has played with hosts of Nashville titans as diverse as Ricky Skaggs and the Dixie Chicks, and has performed with symphonies in the United States and Europe. Droll has played guitar on various projects involving Keller Williams, Kevin Kinney, and Brandi Carlisle; he is also a composer, and painter.
Over the years, Hornsby has played on over a hundred records, including albums by Bob Dylan, Don Henley, the Grateful Dead, Bob Seger, Crosby Stills and Nash, Stevie Nicks, Cowboy Junkies, Squeeze, Chaka Khan, Liquid Jesus, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Whitley, Shawn Colvin, Bela Fleck, Clint Black, Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, Randy Scruggs, and Willie Nelson. Hornsby contributed end-title songs for the Spike Lee films Clockers and Bamboozled.
Hornsby has participated in memorable events: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1995 opening concert, Farm Aid IV and VI, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, and Woodstock II and III. An avid sports fan, Hornsby — solo and with Branford Marsalis — has performed the National Anthem for many major events including the NBA All-Star game, four NBA finals, and the 1997 World Series Game 5. His work appears on the soundtrack to Ken Burns Baseball.
“I can be a slow learner,” Hornsby says, “and sometimes it takes me a while to arrive at the most soulful way to play and sing one of my songs — or anyone’s song, for that matter. Our approach to playing allows songs to grow, evolve and change through the years. That’s where the improvisatory mindset has led us.”
It is a singularly rich place, a place for stirring noise-making.