|Artist: Bruce Hornsby|
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|"When I play music, I guess I'm what you'd call an ecstatic," says Bruce Hornsby. "I'm always pursuing those joyful, exuberant, transcendent moments that happen when everything is working. That's why I called this album Levitate, because that's what those moments feel like."|
The 13-time Grammy nominee's multifarious talents and far-ranging musical interests are prominent on Levitate, which marks the artist's Verve debut. The album's 13 songs span an expansive sonic and emotional palette, encompassing heartfelt insights and absurdist humor, while incorporating a broad assortment of influences within compact song structures.
The material ranges from the expansive, expressive songcraft of "Prairie Dog Town" and "In the Low Country" to the gently reflective introspection of "Invisible" and "Here We Are Again," with the album-opening "The Black Rats of London" offering a swaggering treatise on the influence of the rodents, insects and microbes upon key historical events. Such colorful moments help make Levitate a consistently compelling evocation of Hornsby's established abilities, as well as a substantial creative departure.
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Personnel: Bruce Hornsby (vocals, dulcimer, piano, keyboards); Tim Smith , Eric D. Jackson, Z. Berg (vocals); John "J.T." Thomas, John Thomas (guitar, organ, keyboards); Doug Derryberry, R.S. Hornsby, Eric Clapton, Blake Mills (guitar); Bobby Read (reeds); Sonny Emory (drums).|
|Audio Mixers: Shawn Everett; Wayne Pooley.|
|Recording information: Tossington Sound; Zeitgeist Sounds.|
|Photographers: Carey Wilhelm; Sean Smith ; Katherine Fisher; Christian Amonson.|
|If there were any doubt that Bruce Hornsby had completely redefined himself as a "do whatever I want to" musician rather than the pop/rock singer/songwriter he had appeared to be upon his popular emergence 20 years earlier, that doubt should have been dispersed by his two album releases of 2007, the bluegrass duo set RICKY SKAGGS & BRUCE HORNSBY and the jazz trio session CAMP MEETING with Christian McBride and Jack DeJohnette. That liberation accomplished at last, Hornsby unsurprisingly returned to the pop/rock singer/songwriter mode on LEVITATE, his first album since 1993's A NIGHT ON THE TOWN to be co-credited to his backup band. But his old group The Range is long gone, replaced by an ensemble pointedly called the Noisemakers, who have been backing him as a unit since 2002. The sound of LEVITATE only occasionally recalls the Bruce Hornsby of "That's the Way It Is," "Mandolin Rain," and "The Valley Road." Instead, he and the Noisemakers come up with combustible jazz-rock arrangements revealing the influence of Steely Dan (notably on "Paperboy") and Brian Wilson ("Michael Raphael"), used to support sometimes bizarrely humorous lyrics, as signaled by the opening song, "The Black Rats of London." The best songs here are co-compositions, particularly "Cyclone," with a strong, evocative, and characteristic lyric from former Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Old-time Hornsby fans who fell away over the years might want to give this one a listen; it's closer to his singer/songwriter self than he's been in many years.|
Producer: Tony Berg; Wayne Pooley; Bruce Hornsby
Engineer: Shawn Everett; Wayne Pooley
Associated Artists and Works
|Levitate [Digipak] ~ Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers|
|Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz with Guest Bruce Ho ~ McPartland, Marian|
|Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby ~ Skaggs, Ricky|
|Cluck Ol' Hen ~ Skaggs, Ricky|
|Release Date : 09/15/2009|
|Original Release Date : 2009|
|Catalog ID : 13115|
|Label : Verve|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00602527102443|
- "With scarcely a piano solo in sight, Hornsby lets the songwriting speak for itself, all while managing to encapsulate the very essence of his signature sound."
BioBruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
Despite his early successes, Hornsby chose to pursue a more personal, idiosyncratic musical path, focusing on projects that sparked his creative interest and musical progress. That direction was manifested in his lengthy association with the Grateful Dead, with whom he's performed more than 100 concerts as guest keyboardist. His work with the Dead encouraged Hornsby to incorporate his interest in musical improvisation into his own performances, while his eclectic musical interests have been reflected in a wide array of recording projects.
Over the years, Hornsby has successfully ventured into jazz, classical, bluegrass and even electronica, as reflected by such acclaimed recent releases as the bluegrass project Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby and the jazz trio album Camp Meeting, with Jack deJohnette and Christian McBride. The prestigious list of Hornsby collaborators now includes such diverse figures as Ornette Coleman, Bob Dylan, Bela Fleck, Charlie Haden, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Branford Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Robbie Robertson, Leon Russell, Chaka Khan, Wayne Shorter, Squeeze, Tupac Shakur and Sting.
Indeed, Bruce Hornsby's restless musical spirit continues to spontaneously push him forward into exciting new musical pursuits. He's currently working with Chicago director Kathleen Marshall on a prospective Broadway musical titled SCKBSTD (many of the new lp's songs are from this project). He's composed and recorded several soundtrack projects for filmmaker Spike Lee, most recently writing and recording the score for Kobe Doin' Work, Lee's ESPN documentary on Kobe Bryant. Hornsby is also featured onscreen in the new Robin Williams/Bobcat Goldthwait film World's Greatest Dad. That film features lots of Hornsby music, including the Levitate track "Invisible."