Greatest Radio Hits
First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2004, Volume 11, #2
Written by John Metzger
Bruce Hornsbyís first career retrospective Greatest Radio Hits understandably is constrained by its title. After all, the finer moments of the pianistís catalog often werenít those that were chosen for airplay, a fact that is woefully apparent with the inclusion of recent singles such as the drab Walk in the Sun as well as the forgettable See the Same Way at the expense of better outings like Sneaking Up on Boo Radley, Sticks and Stones, or the sprawling epic The Show Goes On, which was utilized to tremendous effect in the film Backdraft.
Even so, that doesnít make Greatest Radio Hits a less compelling document. True, Hornsbyís musical vision is much wider than both his fans and his label tend to recognize, but the funny thing about the collection is how it demonstrates that despite his restless energy and frequent forays into jazz, bluegrass, and electronica, he never strayed far from the smart, yet commercially viable music of his debut. In other words, even though he repeatedly has changed the landscape that surrounds his songs, their basic essence as well as their heart and soul have endured. Itís no wonder, then, that eighteen years after its initial release The Way It Is has remained a powerful and moving tune or that tracks like Fields of Gray and Mandolin Rain sound as lovely as ever. Toss in a trio of previously unreleased concert performances ó the sprightly Jacobís Ladder, the haunted The End of the Innocence, and the soulful Go Back to Your Woods ó and Greatest Radio Hits becomes a well-rounded examination of Hornsbyís potential.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box