Monday, May 24, 2021

"The Valley Road" by Bruce Hornsby & the Range

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3503
Date:  04/30/1988
Debut:  58
Peak:  5
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Soft Rock, Americana

Pop Bits:  Hornsby's Americana sound seemed to come along at just the right time. His 1986 debut album The Way It Is captured people's attention with its homespun, modern country/folk feel. The LP would end up reaching #3 and go triple-platinum thanks to three Pop Top 20 hits including the #1 title track. It also earned Hornsby and his band a Grammy for Best New Artist. Now they had the task of following up that major success. Working with producer Neil Dorfsman, the band finished off their second album Scenes from the Southside. This first single was issued out and it did quite well becoming their third Pop Top 10 hit. It also reached #1 at both AC and Rock. The hit helped the album get to #5 and it would quickly go platinum in July of '88.

ReduxReview:  For this song and the album, Hornsby didn't mess with the formula that garnered him his first hits and I think that worked in his favor. Folks were still interested in his music and this track just seemed like a natural extension from ones on his debut LP while not sounding like a repeat. Dorfsman's production gave the track a little extra boost and commercial appeal while also being able to show off Horsnby's skills as a musician. It was a good track and a worthy hit, but unfortunately it would be Hornsby's last to crack the Pop Top 10.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song would end up earning Hornsby his second Grammy, but it wasn't for this first original version. In 1989, Hornsby would re-record the song with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for their album Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Volume Two. The LP  was a follow-up to the band's classic 1972 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken which had them covering classic country and bluegrass tunes with artists who made them famous. The sequel album had the same concept, but just with newer country/bluegrass stars and songs. The band recorded a neo-bluegrass version of "The Valley Road" with Hornsby. The track would go on to win the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Recording. Hornsby's win kind of wrankled the ol' guards of bluegrass music since Hornsby was really a bluegrass artist. The album would win the Grammy for Best Country Performance, Duo or Group with Vocal.


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