Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers
6:30 p.m. June 19 at Artpark
You may know Hornsby from: His 1987 chart-topping hit, “The Way It Is”; as a touring member of the Grateful Dead in the early 90s; or his work as an impressive purveyor of genres as varied as jazz and bluegrass.
Familiar bandmates: His Grammy Award-winning outfit, The Range (1984-91), with Hornsby (vocals/keys), David Mansfield (guitar, violin), George Marinelli (guitar), Joe Molo (drums) and Joe Puerta (bass).
Current tour’s bandmates: His longtime jazz and bluegrass-flavored collaborators, The Noisemakers, with JV Collier (bass), Gibb Droll (guitar), Sonny Emory (drums), Ross Holmes (fiddle, mandolin) and John Thomas (organ, keyboards).
Endlessly impressive range: People familiar with the ambitious career trajectory from the Virginia-born virtuoso Hornsby aren’t hauling out camping chairs to simply hear him play his well-worn AC hits from 1986’s “The Way It Is.” They’re securing space to watch him deftly navigate the associations between jazz, bluegrass, folk and Deadhead-approved jam stanzas with whatever players along for the ride. Yes, his familiar hits are still beautiful and accessible more than 30 years after dominating the airwaves, but watching the multi-instrumentalist creatively weave genre-bending content is always the draw.
What to expect: After adding guitarist Gibb Droll and fiddle/mandolin player Ross Holmes four years ago, Hornsby steered the Noisemakers’ toward a more earthy, folk-flavored sound, fashioned on 2016’s “Rehab Reunion.” Does that mean he’ll be rolling out a bluesy, rustic showcase that eschews his solo and former Range material? No. He’ll simply be accessing all his stylistic acumen to deliver catalog choices—and, for attendees’ benefit, to complement the work of openers, The Wood Brothers—against an always majestic Artpark backdrop.
Tickets: $17-$27, with front of stage access still available; artpark.net