"The Valley Road" is leading to the Great White Way, as Bruce Hornsby is adding Broadway to his already eclectic musical resume. Hornsby has been commissioned by the New York production firm Playwrigh
"The Valley Road" is leading to the Great White Way, as Bruce Hornsby is adding Broadway to his already eclectic musical resume.
Hornsby has been commissioned by the New York production firm Playwrights Horizons to write music for a new musical that's tentatively titled "SCKBSTD" (a license plate-style truncation of "Sick Bastard"). He's collaborating on the songs with childhood friend Chip deMatteo, who wrote liner notes for his "Spirit Trail" and "Big Swing Face" albums, while the book is being written by author Clay Chapman.
"We're just start on the long road towards actually realizing this," says Hornsby, who's written four songs for the production so far -- including one about Donald Trump that he's been playing at some of his concerts. "The streets are littered with greater songwriters than I who have stiffed on Broadway, so I don't hold out any great expectations and high hopes. But it's potentially very exciting."
For now, however, he's holding back on revealing too much of the story. "It's about something happening in real life now," Hornsby says. "If the person finds out about it, we might be attacked or sued."
The musical is part of a busy year for Hornsby, which also includes today's release of the "Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby" bluegrass collaboration and a Bruce Hornsby trio jazz project with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Jack DeJohnette. That group will release an album in July and make appearances at the Playboy and Newport jazz festivals. Hornsby will also be playing live this year with Skaggs and his Kentucky Thunder band, on his own and with his other band, the Noisemakers.
Hornsby's other major endeavor this year is the endowment of a Creative American Music Program at his alma mater, the University of Miami, where students will not only study the roots of American music but also learn to play and compose in those styles. The course has been fast-tracked to begin this fall.
"It's not just a bunch of music appreciation courses," Hornsby explains. "It goes further and deals with it on a performance level and, most importantly, on a compositional level. They'll not only have to play it; they'll have to write it, too. I think that's great experience for a songwriter -- 'Hey, write a song like 'Dust My Broom' or 'Froggy Went A-Courtin'.' These kids can use a bit of soul and roots like that."