First radio air date: April 12, 2018
About This Episode
Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers brought quite a show to the Big Blue Tent in 2017. The band’s perfect mix of top-notch songwriting and adventurous, virtuosic, and just plain fun improvisation kept the whole tent spellbound from note one.
Bruce Hornsby has built one of the most diverse, collaborative and adventurous careers in contemporary music. Drawing from a vast wellspring of American musical traditions, the singer/pianist/composer/bandleader has created a large and accomplished body of work and employed a vast array of stylistic approaches. Throughout this period, Hornsby has maintained the integrity, virtuosity and artistic curiosity that have been hallmarks of his work from the start.
Hornsby and his band The Range’s first album The Way It Is (1986) was steadily and slowly building in popularity in the U.S. when in August the title track exploded on BBC Radio One in England, then Europe, the rest of the world and finally in the United States. The record went on to sell three million records, the band played Saturday Night Live and opened for Steve Winwood, John Fogerty, Huey Lewis, the Grateful Dead and the Eurythmics before becoming headliners on their own tour supported by Crowded House.
Soon Hornsby was being approached regularly to collaborate with a broad range of musicians and writers, a demand that continues to this day. Over the years Hornsby has successfully ventured into bluegrass, jazz, classical, and even electronica. His three Grammy wins (along with his ten Grammy losses!) typify the diversity of his career: Best New Artist (1986) as leader of Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Best Bluegrass Recording (1989) for a version of his old Range hit “The Valley Road” that appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will The Circle Be Unbroken Volume Two, and a shared award with Branford Marsalis in 1993 for Best Pop Instrumental for “Barcelona Mona”, a song written and performed for the 1992 Olympic Games. The sales stats and breadth of his collaborations (including being sampled many times by rap/hip-hop artists) speak volumes about Hornsby’s unique fusion of mainstream appeal and wild musical diversity. His albums have sold over eleven million copies worldwide.
Indeed, Bruce Hornsby’s restless musical spirit continues to spontaneously push him forward into exciting new musical pursuits. Three decades after Bruce Hornsby established his global name as the creator of pop hits that defined “the sound of grace on the radio,” as a Rolling Stone reviewer once wrote, such projects continue and are consistent with his lifelong pursuit of musical transcendence. “It’s always been about staying inspired, broadening my reach and range of abilities and influences, and exploring new areas”, Hornsby says. “I’m very fortunate to be able to do that, to be a lifelong student, and to continue to pursue a wide-ranging musical life.”
This episode of Tent Show Radio also features songs from a past performance from The Mavericks, and also from the Blue Canvas Orchestra’s Big Top Does the Beatles show. And if you like the magic flowing out of your radio on these performances, swing on over to BigTop.org and buy some tickets, because both The Mavericks and Big Top Does the Beatles are returning to the tent in 2018.
About Michael Perry
Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin.
Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom, and his latest, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015.
Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wandered into writing. He lives with his wife and two daughters in rural Wisconsin, where he serves on the local volunteer fire and rescue service and is an intermittent pig farmer. He hosts the nationally-syndicated “Tent Show Radio,” performs widely as a humorist, and tours with his band the Long Beds (currently recording their third album for Amble Down Records). He has recorded three live humor albums including Never Stand Behind A Sneezing Cow and The Clodhopper Monologues.
Learn more about Michael and where to get his publications at www.sneezingcow.com.
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