Q&A with Bruce Hornsby

We recently sat down with Bruce Hornsby to learn more about him and his expansive career. He will be coming to The Northern Lights Theater along with Pat Metheny on Tuesday, July 29.



The Campfire Tour featuring you, Sonny Emory and Pat Metheny Unity Group will be making a stop at Northern Lights Theater July 29. What can you tell us about this show and what can your fans expect to see and hear?

I think the show will be rather interactive—Pat playing with Sonny and me, and Sonny and me playing with Pat's band.

 

You’ve been in the music industry for many years now. How have things changed from when you first came on the scene with your hit “The Way It Is” to now?

Obviously, record sales have plummeted steadily for the past 10-15 years, and now there are two or three generations of kids 10-23ish that feel music should be available for free. So it's a completely different environment than the one I encountered in the mid-1980s.

 

Speaking of “The Way It Is,” that particular song has been sampled by many artists, including Tupac Shakur. Do you enjoy hearing your music turn up in other artists’ songs and in different musical genres such as rap or country? 

Sure, I like the rap/hip-hop versions, and the country covers as well. I also like the checks!

 

Throughout your career, you’ve had the chance to collaborate with many talented artists, either as a songwriter or musician. Are there any particular artists you’re hoping to work with down the road?

At this point, I'm not really looking for new "partners"—they seem to come along anyway. I'm especially excited about a brewing collaboration with the great classical conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

 

Are you currently working on a new album and if so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes, we will begin recording a new record in September with our new Noisemakers lineup. I may play very little piano on it.

 

How many instruments do you play and which one was the most challenging to learn?

The piano, clearly, is my primary instrument. But I “play at” the accordion and dulcimer. Playing them badly doesn't stop me! 

 

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Leon Russell, Elton John, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Charles Ives, Elliott Carter and many more.

 

What are you listening to these days?

Reverend Gary Davis, Paul Brady, Elliott Carter, Dave Van Ronk, Jeremy Denk, György Ligeti.

 

It’s well-known that you’re an avid basketball player and now your son, Keith, will be playing at LSU this upcoming season. Do you offer him any advice or are you more of a “hands-off” parent when it comes to your kids’ extracurricular activities?

I'll refer you to a recent article from the New Orleans Times-Picayune about Keith, and our long-time hoops relationship.