Hornbuckle Releases “Virtue & Vice,” Summer Tour Dates Planned
All Access Magazine Publisher Debra Stocker recently took time to interview Hornbuckle, “Denver’s First Family of the Blues” who recently celebrated twenty years together. The band – consisting of Michael Hornbuckle (guitars/vocals), Brian Hornbuckle (bass/vocals); Lance Crane (drums); and Ace Baker (keyboards) – have just released a new album “Virtue & Vice” that’s receiving significant radio airplay worldwide. Here’s what brothers Michael hornbuckle (MH) and Brian Hornbuckle (BH) had to say.
AAM: When did your group Hornbuckle first form?
MH: Brian and I have been ‘juke-jointed’ at the hip now for over twenty years. We’ve released some music throughout that time, some together, some on our own, playing big shows, small shows, and everything in between. However this latest incarnation is infantile, but at the same time seasoned – in it’s first two years. Seasoned in the sense that the characters in the band are all top-notch veterans. They’re not guys Brian and I have a long history with, which has had way more pros than cons. Infantile also because the music we’re creating seems so fresh and new. There’s been a Hornbuckle rebirth if you will.
AAM: How would you guys describe the current musical sound/direction of your band, as opposed to what it sounded like in the recent past?
MH: In the past we’ve really only “dabbled” outside the box while writing. We learned so much from meeting and working with (L.A. producer/songwriter/pianist) Alex ‘Ace’ Baker on this album. It’s still blues, it’s still rock, and it’s still soul. The songs have simplistic structure. We’re trying to stay as grounded as possible nowadays individually and hopefully collectively, but musically, man, we’re soaring like a Colorado red tail. Honestly, we’ve just been more open-minded and willing to grow, and I think it’s reflected in the music.
AAM: Let’s discuss some of the songs on your band’s latest album, Virtue & Vice. Your favorites, and why?
BH: On “Virtue and Vice” we try and cover a lot of ground; sixteen songs of memories, love, lust, protest and personal discovery. We are pleased with the album as a whole. The writing came to life under the brilliant production of Ace Baker, who not only produced it but also played keyboard. We really tried to infuse as many influences as possible while still keeping continuity from song to song. We did some reggae in “Complicated”, funk in “Slave to the Benjamins,” a Latin feel on “Moment In Time” and a 70’s rock feel in “Ride Away”. All of it injected with the blues since that is still the main language we speak musically. I think the finest piece of songwriting lyrically and musically is a haunting number called “Angels, Addicts, Poets and Thieves”. Every time I listen to that song it I’m still amazed that we made something so beautifully ominous.
AAM: Every musician cites certain artists as having influenced them. Who are some of yours?
BH: The most important musician would be our father, not just because of his guitar style and technique, but also because of the incredible music he turned us onto at a young age. He gave us a jump start into what direction our songwriting would go and the covers we choose to do. All the great blues/jazz players were on our turntable all the time. Great pop writers of the past and present, B-side 45’s and bootlegs, kept our minds in music all the time. That tradition still continues with us both. I feel like we are influenced by all these players and genres as fans just as much as musical influences.
AAM: Hornbuckle is originally from Colorado, but your band has spent considerable time in Southern California. What do you see as the main differences between the two, regarding its live music/club scene?
BH: The difference is significant. You would think that the huge population and the incredible talent that is in L.A. would equate to packed clubs that pay well, but that is not necessarily the case. There are gems in L.A. where you can see world-class players performing for tips in a small bar. L.A. is geared for production and that’s what most the serious cats do there. They play live for fun but the paying work is in a studio somewhere.
Denver, on the other hand, is geared for live music. If you can play then you can gig. We have the occasional breakout act, but mostly it’s about building a following and playing the rounds. The Metro Denver area is very spread out, so each city has its own crowd. It’s because of that that there is a circuit a band can do without burning out the area. Denver is not like, say Kansas City, where you are accessible to the whole Mid-west to play clubs. Denver is far from any other major market so people here appreciate what they have and support their musicians
AAM: Where do you desire to take Hornbuckle in the next five-ten years in terms of the band’s overall career direction?
MH: Oh man, desire can conjure up some pretty wild shit in my head, but I think I can I can at least point to some realistic expectations, and some obtainable goals. Playing live is simply why we do this, and bringing Hornbuckle to a wider audience is no doubt a desire of ours. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to go see some new places and meet some new people in the world by means of taking this thing on the road like I think Brian pointed to. What sort of possibilities transpire from there we’ll have to leave to the Gods, so to speak. I think some, if not all the songs on this album are worthy of licensing to TV and movies. We love writing music and would be open to collaboration, and love sharing the stage with people. The other day I was thinking about our own fragrance line called ‘Horny’. The possibilities are broad. I kid, but being open-minded to some new ideas has served us well so far, so ya never know.
AAM: How can fans, etc. keep up on the latest Hornbuckle news?
MH: We’re on Facebook, Reverbnation, and our website is hornbucklemusic.com
(Catch Hornbuckle performing live and interviewed on BuddhaMans International Experience radio show this Saturday, March 29 (listen live at http://rdsn.net/kong/); the band is also interviewed live on radio station KNRNFM.com Saturday, April 12 at 4:00 pm Pacific/7:00 pm Eastern. Listen live at http://www.knrnfm.com/). Hornbuckle is also the Artist Spotlight for the week of April 27-May 4 on American Veterans Radio (www.avradio.org).