Since the release of his first album in April 1986, Bruce Hornsby has created a musical life that has expanded far and wide to include a broad stylistic range of activity. Hornsby, an twelve-time Grammy nominee, has won three Grammys in 1987 with his band, the Range for “Best New Artist” for their debut album The Way It Is; in 1989 for “Best Bluegrass Recording” for his version of his hit “The Valley Road” which appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Volume II; and his third Grammy in 1993 for “Best Pop Instrumental Performance” for “Barcelona Mona,” created with Branford Marsalis for the Barcelona Olympics. Bruce’s latest nominations were in 2004 for “Song F”, from his Columbia album Halcyon Days, and in 2006 for “Song H” from his box set Intersections.
Hornsby’s twelve albums have sold over 11 million copies worldwide. The title cut from The Way It Is (1986) was the most played song on American radio in 1987, winning the ASCAP “Song of the Year” award. In 1989, he co-wrote the classic “The End of the Innocence” with Don Henley, a Top 10 record for him. Harbor Lights was the 1994 winner of the Downbeat Reader’s Poll Beyond Album of the Year (meaning all music other than Jazz and Blues). In 1999 Tupac Shakur “co-wrote” a new song over “The Way It Is” music with Bruce, using new words, called “Changes.” It was a major worldwide hit selling 14 million copies.
In August 2006, Columbia/Legacy released a box set, Bruce Hornsby Intersections 1985-2005, four CDs and a DVD commemorating his first twenty years as a major label recording artist. Hornsby personally selected and sequenced every track which covers the span of Hornsby’s career with original album and single tracks, including 26 previously unreleased live performances. The DVD is a treasure trove of touchstone Hornsby performances and collaborations.
In 2007, Legacy released Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby which debuted as the No.1 Billboard Bluegrass record and received a nomination from the International Bluegrass Music Association awards for Recorded Event of the Year. The album is a mix of reworked hits, traditional arrangements and originals written in collaboration for the project.
Known around the music industry as a collaborator, Hornsby has been sought after by a veritable “who’s who” in the music business. He has played on more than 100 records over the years; including albums by Bob Dylan, Don Henley, the Grateful Dead, Bob Seger, Crosby Stills and Nash, Stevie Nicks, Cowboy Junkies, Squeeze, Liquid Jesus, Bonnie Raitt (piano on the classic “I Can’t Make You Love Me”), Shawn Colvin, Bela Fleck, Clint Black, Ricky Skaggs, Randy Scruggs, Willie Nelson, and end-title songs for two Spike Lee movies, Clockers (with Chaka Khan), and Bamboozled.
In addition, Hornsby was a part-time member of the Grateful Dead from September 1990 to March 1992, performing over 100 concerts in America and Europe. He appears on four Dead album releases.
"I've always liked the group of fans that we've drawn from the Grateful Dead time, because those fans are often adventurous music listeners," Hornsby admits. "To be creative, spontaneous in the moment and make music in the present tense, that's what we're all about live. I write the songs, we make the records and then the records become a departure point, the basic blueprint, the basic arrangement. I'm fairly restless creatively. I was never a very good Top 40 band guy because I never liked to play the same thing every time. I think of my songs as living beings that evolve and change and grow through the years."
Bruce Hornsby attended both Berklee College of Music in Boston and the University of Miami, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in music. Throughout his storied career, Hornsby demonstrated a penchant for extended jazz-like piano solos and has engaged in rich collaborations with such jazz stars as Pat Metheny, Branford Marsalis and Ornette Coleman. So it was only a matter of time before he would return to his roots and record a full jazz album.
Hornsby released his first jazz instrumental album, Camp Meeting in the summer of 2007, a collaboration with two of jazz's most esteemed musicians, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Jack DeJohnette. In addition to originals composed by Hornsby, the trio delivers new versions of compositions by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Keith Jarrett, and Bud Powell.
Through the years Hornsby has participated in several memorable events: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opening concert in September 1995 (featured on the Sony 2 cd set), Farm Aid IV and VI, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival, Woodstock II (1994), Woodstock III (1999) (featured on the Epic 2 cd set).
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, the 1997 World Series Game 5, the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s all-time consecutive game streak, and the Ken Burns Baseball soundtrack.
Bruce Hornsby albums - The Way It Is (1986), Scenes From The Southside (1988), A Night On The Town (1990), Harbor Lights (1993), Hot House (1995), the double Spirit Trail (1998), Here Come The Noisemakers (2000), Big Swing Face (2002), Greatest Radio Hits (2003), Halcyon Days (2004), a 2005 concert DVD, Three Nights on the Town, a 4CD/1DVD box set Bruce Hornsby Intersections 1985-2005 (2006), Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby (2007) and jazz trio project Camp Meeting (2007).