Bruce Hornsby’s work displays a creative iconoclasm that’s been a constant in the artist’s two-and-a-half decade recording career. His commercial stock soared early on, when “The Way It Is” – the title track of his 1986 debut album – became one of the most popular songs on American radio. Despite his early mainstream successes, Hornsby has pursued a more personal, idiosyncratic musical path, focusing on projects that sparked his creative interest, including collaborations with the Grateful Dead, Spike Lee, Ricky Skaggs, Don Henley, Ornette Coleman, Bob Dylan, Bela Fleck, Justin Vernon, Bonnie Raitt, Pat Metheny, and Robbie Robertson.
His three Grammy wins (along with his ten Grammy losses!) typify the diversity of his career: Best New Artist (1986) as leader of Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Best Bluegrass Recording (1989) for a version of his old Range hit “The Valley Road” that appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will The Circle Be Unbroken Volume Two, and a shared award with Branford Marsalis in 1993 for Best Pop Instrumental for “Barcelona Mona,” a song written and performed for the 1992 Olympic Games.
Show opener and Wisconsin native Phil Cook draws inspiration of his childhood heroes. He’s performed with many of them, including Mavis Staples, Bruce Hornsby, John Prine, Amy Ray and the Blind Boys of Alabama.
Proceeds from the show benefit SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science, a groundbreaking new center for personal and professional development transforming the way UW-Madison prepares liberal arts students for career success.