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Bruce Hornsby Seeks Out The Strange

Bruce Hornsby
Sarah Walor
/
Courtesy of the artist
Bruce Hornsby

Bruce Hornsby has an appetite for the unusual that may surprise those who know him best for his 1986 smash hit "The Way It Is." His latest album, Absolute Zero, features a "bitonal pop song" where Hornsby plays in different keys with each hand. Another song is based on the sounds made by found objects in his studio. The album also features collaborations with artists who are known for pushing boundaries themselves. There's production from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and contributions from the experimental chamber ensemble yMusic and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.

When Hornsby stopped by the Cafe, we talked about his long-standing appreciation for modern classical music and how film cues he composed for director Spike Lee formed the basis for Absolute Zero. He also shared stories from touring with Grateful Dead and his theory on what makes them such a beloved band.

Copyright 2019 XPN

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.