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Here Come the Noise Makers (Live)

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Album Review

Bruce Hornsby was 32 when "That's the Way It Is" hit number one and made him a star in the winter of 1986-1987, and he has used that stardom differently from the way a 22-year-old might have. You might say he's deliberately dismantled his popularity, gradually dispensing with the Range, the backing band he used to bill on his records, and with his brother John, who used to write his lyrics, while making progressively less song-oriented records that have traced a steadily declining sales curve to the point that his sixth album, the 1998 double-CD Spirit Trail, spent only two weeks in the charts. Or you might say he's used his popularity, spending it on musical legitimacy by turning away from pop music, indulging in side projects such as his part-time membership in the Grateful Dead. Here Come the Noise Makers, a two-CD live album drawn from concerts in 1998-2000, is, he says, a gift to "our fans, our true fans," which is to say those who have stuck with him. His gift includes renditions of his biggest hits, "That's the Way It Is," "Mandolin Rain," and "The Valley Road," as well as hits he wrote, "Jacob's Ladder" and "The End of the Innocence," embedded in lengthy arrangements with lots of invocations of his musical influences — the Dead, George Gershwin, Samuel Barber, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, and Bob Dylan among them. Hornsby is determined to create a hybrid style that encompasses rock, jazz, and classical music within a jam band mentality. If he doesn't succeed, it may be because there aren't enough "true fans" out there to follow him, or it may be because he is so impressed with his own showoff-ish virtuosity that he hasn't bothered to write music compelling enough to support his goals.

Customer Reviews

Bruce Hornsby - Always Underrated

This is a great live album. Itunes reviewers are always so harsh to this man, probably because they aren’t one of his “true fans.” The reason Bruce is not selling as many albums these days is because the people that were into his first hits in the mid eighties to early nineties were only interested because he was a hit machine. They are the kind of people that only appreciate music that is in the Top 40, they don’t appreciate true music and great song-writing. True Hornsby fans follow him because we know how much he has grown for the better since the Range days. I think Hornsby deserves to be up there with the greats.

One of the Best Live Albums I've Heard

This album ranks up there with my top 10 of all time. You haven't heard Bruce's music until you hear it live. He's a gifted musician that while a lot of it comes out in the studio albums, he really shines live. Some songs are true to form, other songs are done in completely different styles than the album. And they all rock. You'll appreciate Bruce so much more after you've listened to this album.

Without Equal

When it comes to music and musicians, there is Bruce Hornsby and, then, everyone else. And the same can be said for his band, The Noisemakers. Bruce, his band: they are without equals. One cannot blame those who love "The Way It Is." It is, after all, a magical song; its opening notes/chords, its lyrics, are among the most poignant and evocative of any song written in this century. But those who love that song deny themselves its true pleasures if they don't allow themselves to truly hear it in the context of Bruce's absolutely magnificent total body of work. "The Way It Is' shall always remain Bruce's signature song, but it's a signature that is affixed to page after page of superb songs and performances.

Biography

Born: November 23, 1954 in Williamsburg, VA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Possessed of a breezy, nonchalant style that belies his technical gifts, pianist Bruce Hornsby writes powerful songs from the heart that touch on several distinctly American traditions: pop, jazz, bluegrass, and '60s soul. He worked for a while as a studio player and songwriter, and had his first hit in 1986 with the stirring and philosophical "The Way It Is." After that, he continued to release albums that honored his own muse rather than the marketplace, and put together various backing bands to...
Full Bio