Bruce Hornsby: Non-Secure Connection (Zappo Productions) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, October 1st, 2023  

Non-Secure Connection

Zappo Productions

Aug 13, 2020 Bruce Hornsby Bookmark and Share

If you’re searching too hard for Bruce Hornsby’s working thesis these days, you’re missing the obvious. He penned an entire song, “No Limits,” about the creative freedom he enjoyed writing and recording his new album, Non-Secure Connection.

For those who are up to speed on Hornsby’s catalog, the expansive approach is not a surprise. In 2019, he released Absolute Zero, his first solo album in 11 years and one that felt completely untethered from expectation. After years of writing film scores for Spike Lee, playing with The Grateful Dead, and personal ventures into genres ranging from bluegrass to jazz, the Grammy-winning songwriter defied all expectations with a near-avant-garde collection of disparate songs.

Non-Secure Connection is more than a follow-up to Absolute Zero; instead, it’s a continued flow of boundless inspiration that begins and ends in completely unexpected places. Several of the songs present on Non-Secure Connection began as cinematic cues for a Spike Lee that Hornsby then decided to keep and turn into an experimental composition. Others are bolstered by the wide array of guests—from James Mercer (The Shins) and Leon Bridges to Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Jamila Woods.

“Something clicked, clicked upstairs/Wish I knew what happened there/Sharp synaptic, connective tease/I could catch and not release,” he sings on “No Limits,” pulling back the curtain to reveal the turning of Hornsby’s mental gears. Lead single “My Resolve,” featuring Mercer, takes us further into the artistic mindset with a contemplation of a career in the arts. “And no one knows why I’ve been drawn to this life/I’m downwind and high on a survival line.” From there, Hornsby’s subjects ping back and forth at random angles just like the compositions that hold them, from civil rights to AAU basketball to the innovation of pornographic producers.

The chaotic piano of “Porn Hour,” the subtle soulful groove of “Anything Can Happen,” the plaintive beauty of “The Rat King,” the dissonant electric jams of “Shit’s Crazy Out Here”—it’s all somehow part of the same sonic package. Hornsby is a man at home in nearly any musical setting, and his extensive experience allows him to roam comfortably in it all—a native of all these lands. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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