Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers – Rehab Reunion

There’s tons of ways to be guided in music. There’s certainly artists though that can improve or expand your musical palette. It’s sometimes as simple as hearing, for instance, Little Willie John sing “Fever’ and then you realize, “OK, I guess I like Rhythm and Blues. Personally, I like a good long term relationship with an artist. I like the longer journey of growing with the artist out of trust. When I first heard Bruce Hornsby he made me stare at the speakers. It was like hearing the piano for the first time since discovering Elton John (who Hornsby loves BTW.) “The Way It Is,” which turned 30 years old last month, made us think about racism and that intro piano hook made us want more. Since 1986 Hornsby has changed more times than a chameleon in a flower garden. His tickle trunk of goodies is packing Jazz, Blues, Country, Bluegrass, pop, folk, roots, classical and Americana. The latter is where he sits now.

Bruce-Hornsby_hugeThe biggest change with “Rehab Reunion” is it doesn’t have any acoustic piano and still it’s a great Hornsby album. I should point out that there was no piano on “Big Swing Face” from 2002. He played the Wurlitzer electric piano on that one and he’s played the dulcimer on older songs like “Shadow Hand” from 1998’s “Spirit Trail,” in 2004 there was “Mirror On the Wall,” from “Halcyon Days” and in 2009 and the “Levitate” CD “Prairie Dog Town.”

His backup band, the Noisemaker’s, is there but longtime sax player Bobby Read is gone. He’s replaced by fiddle-mandolin man Ross Holmes (formerly of Mumford & Sons) and guitarist Doug Derryberry with Gibb Droll.

The first single is opening track, “Over the Rise” features Justin Vernon from Bon Iver providing some high-register backing vocal. The two also worked together on “Black Muddy River” for the Grateful Dead’s upcoming tribute album “Day Of The Dead,”

“Soon Enough” a sweet melancholy peek on how fast time flies creating those hard fought lessons, and not taking anybody for granted…be good to each other.

“Tipping” brought me back to listening to Harry Chapin as a kid. There’s no 30,000 Pounds of Banana’s but Hornsby’s having fun with his angst on how much to tip. It’s another reminder of his clever, unique grounded perspective in his story telling.

“Rehab Reunion”amps up a good old boy southern charm accent. It’s easily the most fun tune on the project..fiddle and all. It’s a tongue-in-cheek tale.


As a teenager I was haunted by Franz Kafka. He was a Czech writer whose body of work only saw the light of day after his death. He struggled with self doubt and depression. Some thought he had schizoid personality disorder but he became a huge influence on modernist literature. Hornsby was also intrigued referencing Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” on the tune “Hey Kafka” where the writer tells the tale of being transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. It’s also one of the best tracks on the album.

Hornsby has also delivered a few really pretty tunes on every album including, “Tropical Cashmere Sweater” which is in the pocket of the first two albums.

Again with that trademark Hornsby wink-in-the-eye “TSA Man” demonstrated a strange motivation

for meeting that TSA man that might not have anything to do with a flight.. Some people will do anything for human touch. No doubt born from frustrations at the airport.

Hornsby does a new version of “The Valley Road” his 1988 from “Scenes from the Southside”

It’s bluegrass and it works.

Mavis Staples is featured on “Celestial Railroad” a tune that he wrote in 90’s for her and the rest of the Staple singer but they never recorded.

Hornsby says,“What I’m doing here is not about virtuosity: It’s about a song and a singer.“ adding“I’m a lifelong student, I’m always working to improve and push my music to new places.” – by John Beaudin



June 21st – Pisgah Brewing Co. – Black Mountain, NC **

June 23rd – Funhouse Fest (Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall) – Williamsburg, VA *

June 24th – 26th – Funhouse Fest – Williamsburg, VA #

June 29th – Eastman Theatre Kodak Hall – Rochester, NY #

June 30th – Ann Arbor Summer Festival – Ann Arbor, MI #

July 2nd – TBA – Minneapolis, MN #

July 3rd – Summerfest – Milwaukee, WI #

July 4th – City Winery (performing Rehab Reunion in entirety & more) – Chicago, IL #

July 16th – TBA – Sioux Falls, SD #

July 31st – Floyd Fest – Floyd, VA #

August 2nd – TBA – Jackson Hole, WY #

August 4th – TBA – Sandpoint, ID #

August 5th – The Wilma – Missoula, MT #

Aug. 7th – Steamboat Free Summer Concert Series – Steamboat Springs, CO #

Aug. 8th – Denver Botanic Gardens (performing Rehab Reunion in entirety & more) – Denver, CO #

August 10th – Sumtur Amphitheater – Papillion NE #

August 12th – Eaux Claires at Foster Farms – Eau Claire, WI #

August 25th – Cape Cod Melody Tent – Hyannis, MA #

August 26th – South Shore Music Circus – Cohasset, MA #

August 28th – New York State Fair – Syracuse, NY #

August 30th – Keswick Theatre – Glenside, PA #

September 3rd – Shenandoah Valley Music Festival – Orkney Springs, VA #

September 4th – Rhythm & Roots Festival – Charlestown, RI #

September 10th – Jay Peak Resort Stateside Amphitheater – Jay, VT #

September 24th – Greek Theatre (supporting Bonnie Raitt) – Berkeley, CA #

* – An Evening with Bruce Hornsby (Solo)

# – Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers

** – Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby with Kentucky Thunder

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