Surprised, amazed and highly entertained – That’s how I felt after seeing Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs at the Peace Center this past Wednesday. I knew that Skaggs would amaze with his bluegrass chops on the mandolin, and I knew that Hornsby was a talented pianist, but I wasn’t sure how the overall collaboration was going to go. I was quite pleasantly surprised. Hornsby has been known to jam with different bands but I have never seen a piano on stage with such a straight-forward bluegrass band. Hornsby did an excellent job of blending into the background and letting the various (and also amazingly talented) band members shine throughout the performance, but he also played the piano with a perfectly fitting bluegrass sound and great jams of his own. Primarily the music swayed toward bluegrass, but at times Hornsby would take the lead and send the band into an entirely different direction pulling from his various influences like blues, jazz, and world music.
Probably the wildest thing I witnessed all night, more for the novelty of it than anything, was when they came on stage to play and encore and their first song was a bluegrass version of “Super Freak” by Rick James. HA! Ridiculous. Just imagine Super FreeeEEEAAAAAAK in that high register, nasal bluegrass singing. Quite entertaining.
Thanks to the good people at the Peace Center for continuing to bring unique and quality music to the heart of downtown. I’d recommend you check either of these guys next time they’re around town, and really, you should check out any of the good music The Peace Center has on a regular basis.