Bruce Hornsby is on a roll. After taking the music world by surprise with his wide-ranging, critically acclaimed 2019 album Absolute Zero, the singer, songwriter, composer and bandleader returns with a follow-up that picks up where its predecessor left off. Non-Secure Connection features 10 new songs exploring a broad range of themes, from civil rights to computer hackers, mall salesmen to the Darwinian aspects of AAU basketball.
Hornsby plays piano, of course, but the songs on Non-Secure Connection also feature Hornsby’s electric sitar and Chamberlin, along with guitars, horns, strings and subtle samples from sources as varied as minimalist composer John Cage and Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand. Like Absolute Zero, Non-Secure Connection also features a wealth of collaborators: singer James Mercer of The Shins and Broken Bells, singer and poet Jamila Woods, Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid, Bon Iver leader Justin Vernon and the late Leon Russell, who appears thanks to a demo that he and Hornsby recorded together more than 25 years ago.
“I must be the only person around that has a record with James Mercer, Jamila Woods, Leon Russell and Vernon Reid,” Hornsby says with a laugh. “It’s a great, disparate crowd.”
It’s the kind of unexpected roster that listeners have come to expect from Hornsby, who has built a distinctly unique career since his debut with The Range on their multi-platinum 1986 album The Way It Is. From there, Hornsby has steered his way through a stint on keyboards for the Grateful Dead, writing music for Spike Lee’s films, and albums exploring jazz, bluegrass and contemporary classical music.
“I’m often looking to make a sound that I haven’t heard before, and find a place in what I guess is the context of popular song for some new information,” he says.
John Mailander is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist who moves listeners in concert halls, festivals, and music camps at home and abroad. A sought-after performer, teacher, producer, and recording artist, John is known for his deeply rooted voice on the fiddle, mandolin, and other stringed instruments.
John is a member of Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers. He has toured and performed with some of the greatest names in the acoustic music world and beyond, including Billy Strings, Darol Anger, Molly Tuttle, Joy Williams, Sierra Hull, Jacob Jolliff, Tony Trischka, Ruth Moody, Col. Bruce Hampton, Joe K. Walsh, Peter Rowan, Lee Ann Womack, Missy Raines, Laurie Lewis, and John Reischman, to name a few. He was the featured fiddler for Steve Martin & Edie Brickell’s musical, Bright Star, for its debut run in Poughkeepsie, New York.
A San Diego native, now based in Nashville, TN, John is an in-demand session musician. His debut solo album, Walking Distance, featuring an all-star cast of musicians from the New England acoustic music scene, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim. The process of recording his following album, 2019’s Forecast, led John to found a group of his own under the same name. John Mailander’s Forecast is now a continually evolving collective of improvisational musicians from the Nashville music community. Their newest album, Look Closer, was released in May 2021.