Bruce Hornsby Career Highlights
Memories Are Made Of This –
Here’s the recorded version of the blog:
I’m sitting here, remembering times I spent working with the great, Mr. Bruce Hornsby.
It all started out when my very good friend, Laura Creamer who I’d worked with off and on since our first meeting, which was practically ‘on stage’ for her first show with Bob Seger. More about that in another blog.
She rang me up to say Bruce Hornsby was looking for another singer to support his new tour.
We had a few rehearsals, many study nights at home gearing up for the road, and off we went.
Now, if you’ve ever gone to one of his concerts you might have witnessed that he appears very relaxed and focused, as did I.
We’d been on the road for a few weeks, and, aside from the setlist that we would start out with, he would, a number of tunes into the set, start to tear up the list, literally, turn to the audience and tell them to ‘write down songs you would like to hear me play on a napkin and send it up’….WHAT ON EARTH?
He was that prolific…he could launch into just about anything and do it extremely well. If he had an artist that came to see the show, they might be on the side of the stage facing him. He’d see them over there, and would start playing one of their songs, sometimes in mid-song of wherever he was playing in the set at the time. Laura and I would huddle for a moment or two to set up some background vocals and join in.
Now that includes when Keith Jarrett came to one of the shows, (a favorite artist of Bruce’s, and he started playing one of his tunes, and if you’ve ever listened to him, you know that’s no easy feat, he’s a consummate jazz player) anyway, he started playing one of his tunes, even if it was, you guessed it, in the middle of another song! Of course, most of the band would just sort of fade out playing and it would be just Bruce and the great John Molo, an amazing drummer that Bruce had worked with for many years, who seemed to be able to read Bruce’s mind on where he was going at any second, at the drop of a hat!. Totally on point, and you could see the big grin on Keith Jarrett’s face. Just astounding….
Early on at this point, he started doing some second-line, (Cajun style) songs, including some Leon Russell music, then drifted into a Bob Dylan song called, ‘It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry’. We did that combo for a bit, which was so cool. However, one night he was in the solo part of that song, he looked up to me and said, ‘Hey Shaun, do you want to sing on this? Of course, I said no, cuz I didn’t know the words….so, I relaxed, then, he came out of the solo, leaned into the mic (I thought he was going to start singing.) He said: ‘Now ladies and gentlemen, Miss Shaun Murphy’, I about fainted….here we were, playing in front of thousands of people, and I didn’t know the words, sort of like that nightmare you have when you’re running around and you realize you forgot your clothes….. needless to say, I did what I knew I could do, sang my heart out….it’s just didn’t contain many words…lol. Don’t you know I went back to the hotel and woodshedded on that song, never to be in that position if he ever pulled that again, which, of course, he did! As it turned out, that song has become one of my signature tunes in my solo act, and I LOVE doing it!!
Well, I’m going to end with this cool vid, which is part of a full-length special we did for the album, Night On The Town, with special guests, Jerry Garcia, Bela Fleck, Jimmie Wood, David Mansfield, Joe Henderson, and Shawn Colvin. I never got a copy of the full video, but it was really wonderful. Let me know if you can find it!
Wrapping it up for now, but, more Bruce Hornsby Career Highlights to be continued in another blog, just too many other vids I want to share with you all!!! Until next time….