Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bruce Hornsby - Harbor Lights (1993)

This was Bruce Hornsby's first release without his backing band, The Range. So who did he get to replace them? Jeff Lorber, Pat Metheny, Branford Marsalis, Phil Collins, Jimmy Haslip, Bonnie Raitt, and Jerry Garcia. Smart move, Bruce. As a result, Hornsby is able to move beyond his former Mellencamp folk-rock to a cooler, jazzier, more sophisticated sound. Financially, I'm not sure that was a good idea because he stopped having hit singles. Could it be that an artist was more concerned with his art than money? In any case, Hornsby, Metheny, and Marsalis all shine on their solos, with most songs having extended sections that allow them to stretch out and play off each other, not unlike The Grateful Dead (Hornsby played frequently with the Dead from 1988-95). It's not quite Steely Dan, not quite early solo Sting, not quite Little Feat, but they all share similar elements. Good, not great, with bonus points for fantastic liner notes by Hornsby himself.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #46 (May 1, 1993)

Tracks: The title track is probably my favorite cut on the disc; also good are Rainbow's Cadillac, Passing Through, and the manic What A Time. I'm not a fan of Talk Of The Town, China Doll, and the faux-Irish Pastures Of Plenty.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: In the spring of 1994, I visited a good friend in Longview as his band was performing one of my songs. At his office, a co-worker had this CD playing and I talked to her briefly about it, then later purchased it. While the music is good at times, the bigger influence on my life was my introduction to the work of Edward Hopper (1882-1967). The album cover for Harbor Lights features Hopper's 1951 painting Rooms By The Sea. I love this work, the way the door seems to open directly to the water and the way the light hits the walls of the rooms. I eventually got a print of this painting for my office and now go out of my way to see other Hopper works, most recently the 1930 painting Corn Hill (Truro, Cape Cod) at the McNay in San Antonio (below). Maybe one of these days I'll make it to the Yale University Art Gallery and see Rooms By The Sea for myself.

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