Bruce Hornsby | Arcata | Review | Pics

By: James Martin

Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers :: 09.15.11 :: Van Duzer Theatre :: Arcata, CA

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Bruce Hornsby by James Martin
Bruce Hornsby is a musician who needs no introduction, with notable, well known turns in Bruce Hornsby and the Range, the Grateful Dead, The Other Ones, Ricky Skaggs’s band, amongst other collaborations, forming a musical career that has spanned over 37 years.

Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers entertained the crowd at the intimate Van Duzer Theatre on a Thursday night for over two hours on the campus of Humboldt State University. From the beginning, you could feel that this was going to be a special show as Hornsby was taking requests a couple songs in. These weren’t the usual requests for “Mandolin Rain” (which was not played this night) or “That’s The Way It Is” but songs that had Hornsby going into his wide catalog of music like “Chills” and “Harbor Lights.” The Noisemakers are a group of talented musicians and most have been with Bruce for years. They include John “JT” Thomas on keyboards, the very talented Bobby Read on saxophone and other woodwinds, J.V. Collier on bass, Doug Derryberry on mandolin and guitar, and Sonny Emory on drums.

Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers by James Martin
Hornsby does not only play the Steinway piano, he also brought out the accordion and dulcimer. As he sat down and tuned his dulcimer, he began to go into a song when someone yelled out “Dreaded Spoon.” Bruce explained that he had just tuned for a different song and if the guy had yelled it out a minute earlier he would have played it right then. He instead went into “Jack of Diamonds” which rolled into “Workin’ in a Coalmine.” The fan that called out “Dreaded Spoon” did get his request along with a back-story about the song which involved his trips to the Tastee Freeze with his father, the “Dreaded Spoon” being his father’s implemented “ice cream tax.”

Throughout the night Hornsby’s band was having just as much fun on stage as their leader was since some of the songs that were requested had not been played all year. At one point his bassist J.V. Collier asked if he could do that “one song,” as he wanted to play something he knew, which got a laugh from Bruce and the crowd. That one song ended up being “That’s The Way It Is,” one of the most popular tunes in his repertoire. It was a night full of classics and newer soon-to-be classics, and after the night was over it wasn’t hard to imagine that one day Bruce Hornsby will be in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.

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[Published on: 9/20/11]

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