Bruce Hornsby & The Range – A Night On The Town (1990)

FrontCover1Bruce Randall Hornsby (born November 23, 1954) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. He draws from folk rock, jazz, bluegrass, folk, southern rock, country rock, jam band, rock, heartland rock, and blues rock musical traditions.

His recordings have been recognized with industry awards, including the 1987 Grammy Award for Best New Artist with Bruce Hornsby and the Range, the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album, and the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

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Hornsby has worked with his touring band Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, his bluegrass project with Ricky Skaggs, and as a session and guest musician. He was a touring member of the Grateful Dead from September 1990 to March 1992, playing over 100 shows during that period.

His 21st album, Absolute Zero, was released in April 2019 and features collaborations with Justin Vernon and Sean Carey of Bon Iver; Jack DeJohnette, Blake Mills, yMusic, The Staves, and Brad Cook.

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A Night on the Town was the third and final studio album by Bruce Hornsby and the Range. Following albums would be credited to Hornsby alone. A Night on the Town features Hornsby’s last significant hit single, “Across the River”, which spent one week at the top of the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart and peaked at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bruce Hornsby chose Laurelle Brooks as the female lead in the music video for “Across the River”.. (wikipedia)

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Bruce Hornsby’s hardest-rocking album, A Night on the Town announces that he is heading into a different direction in its first few notes. John Mellencamp’s producer Don Gehman gives the sound, especially John Molo’s drums, a feel reminiscent of Mellencamp’s best work. The material here is among Hornsby’s best, and guest players include Jerry Garcia, tenor saxman Wayne Shorter, banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck, vocalist Shawn Colvin (before she was known), and jazz bass legend Charlie Haden. The arrangements still include the mix of synthesized and real percussion, and the trademark piano licks are sprinkled abundantly throughout, but the overall feel is much more rock & roll than anything before or since. The songs are great, with a political edge to “Fire on the Cross” and “Barren Ground.”

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The latter features Garcia’s lead guitar, the former a fine Shorter sax solo. “Stander on the Mountain” is a perceptive reflection on a former BMOC, straight out of Hornsby’s own attendance at a high school reunion, and “Lost Soul” is one of the most profound ballads he has composed, sung as a duet with Colvin. The single, “Across the River,” is a powerful look at the pursuit of one’s dreams in the face of local naysayers, and the subsequent return to one’s hometown with the resultant “I-told-you-so’s.” With A Night on the Town, Bruce Hornsby achieves a mix of mostly up-tempo rock music, adult lyrical themes, and crisp production values that has seldom been matched by other popular musicians of his generation. Though it only peaked at number 20 (his first two albums had reached the Top Five), it is an artistic high point. (Jim Newsom)

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Personnel:
Bruce Hornsby (vocals, piano, synthesizer, accordion)
George Marinelli (guitar, mandolin, background vocals)
John Molo (drums)
Joe Puerta (bass, background vocals)
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Shawn Colvin (vocals on 08.)
Béla Fleck (banjo on 03. + 04.)
Jerry Garcia (guitar on 04. + 05.)
Charlie Haden (bass on 07.)
David Mansfield (guitar on 06., violin on 07.)
Wayne Shorter (saxophone on 03.)
Jimmie Wood (harmonica on 06.)
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background vocals:
Laura Creamer – Shaun Murphy – Shawn Colvin – Bridgette Bryant – David Lasley – Arnold McCuller – Fred White

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Tracklist:
01. A Night On The Town (B.Hornsby/J.Hornsby) 4.26
02. Carry The Water (B.Hornsby) 5.09
03. Fire On The Cross (B.Hornsby/J.Hornsby) 4.38
04. Barren Ground (B.Hornsby/J.Hornsby) 5.29
05. Across The River (B.Hornsby/J.Hornsby) 5.10
06. Stranded On Easy Street (B.Hornsby/J.Hornsby) 3.54
07. Stander On The Mountain (B.Hornsby) 6.09
08. Lost Soul (B.Hornsby) 5.45
09. Another Day (B.Hornsby) 4.24
10. Special Night (B.Hornsby) 4.11
11. These Arms Of Mine (B.Hornsby) 5.53

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The official website:
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2 thoughts on “Bruce Hornsby & The Range – A Night On The Town (1990)

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