Bruce Hornsby performs in The Current studio

Bruce Hornsby performs the song 'Cast-Off' from his 2019 album, 'Absolute Zero,' live in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
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Bruce Hornsby performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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| 00:23:44
  • Bruce Hornsby performs in The Current studio (full session + interview) 23:44
  • Bruce Hornsby - Cast-Off (Live at The Current) 05:52
  • Bruce Hornsby - White Noise (Live at The Current) 03:15
  • Bruce Hornsby - Country Doctor (Live at The Current) 04:37

As he tells his story, it becomes abundantly clear that singer-songwriter and pianist Bruce Hornsby is a collaborator.

In recent years, Hornsby has become known for his collaborations with the Eau Claire, Wis., cohort of musicians in the Bon Iver orbit. But that alliance has its root in another partnership: Hornsby's longtime collaboration with film director Spike Lee. "I've been working with Spike since 1992," Hornsby says. "But in the last 11 years, it's ramped up into a more intense, higher mode, where he's asked me to score films for him. So I've probably scored six movies and done incidental music for several more since 2008."

In that time, Hornsby has written more than 230 pieces of music for Lee; naturally, the director hasn't used all of them. So when Hornsby visited Eau Claire to play a gig at the Oxbow Hotel and to work in the studio Justin Vernon, Sean Carey, Jeremy Ylvisaker and JT Bates. "I came to this session bearing gifts," Hornsby recalls. "I brought 25 of these unused film cues, 25 pieces of instrumental music that I thought Justin may have an interest in."

Vernon selected 10 of these pieces he was interested in. One of those castoffs became, appropriately enough, "Cast-Off," a song co-written by Hornsby and Vernon and the third track on Hornsby's latest album, Absolute Zero, released in April of this year.

In the Twin Cities for a show at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis, Hornsby stopped at The Current for a session hosted by Mac Wilson. Hornsby tells fascinating stories and plays songs from Absolute Zero as well as a selection from his vast back catalogue. Use the audio player above to listen to the complete session.

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Songs Performed


"Cast-Off"
"White Noise"
"Country Doctor"
The first two songs are from Bruce Hornsby's 2019 album Absolute Zero, released by Zappo Productions. The third song is from Hornsby's 1995 album Hot House, available on RCA Records.

Hosted by Mac Wilson
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Piano tech assistance by Adam Wozniak
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor

External Link

Bruce Hornsby - official site

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4 Photos

  • Bruce Hornsby performs in The Current studio
    Bruce Hornsby performing in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Bruce Hornsby performs in The Current studio
    Bruce Hornsby performing in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Bruce Hornsby performs in The Current studio
    Bruce Hornsby performing in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Spike Lee and Bruce Hornsby in 2009
    Director Spike Lee and musician Bruce Hornsby (pictured together here in 2009) have worked together since 1992. (Rob Loud/Getty Images)