Levitate is a staggeringly great collection of songs by one of our most gifted songwriters and instrumentalists playing at the top of his game.
BRUCE HORNSBY & THE NOISEMAKERS
[Rating: 4 stars]
Levitate is a staggeringly great collection of songs by one of our most gifted songwriters and instrumentalists playing at the top of his game. Impressive chops since the start have grown deeper and more impressive. Hornsby’s an exception as a songwriter in that his work has never seemed imitative at all. He’s on his own trajectory, never repeating himself—gracing the essence of folk-rock, bluegrass, rock, jazz and more, all smoothly and without question. “Black Rats Of London” sets whimsical history to a great angular groove. “Prairie Dog Town” is all southern soul, while “Cyclone,” co-written with Grateful Dead wordsmith and Dylan collaborator Robert Hunter, weds their touching narrative with a euphoric, spacious tune. “Levitate,” the title song, matches exquisitely seductive phrasing with a hip, modern groove, a wonderful melody underscored by slight dissonance, and words about unbound inspiration. Eric Clapton eloquently expounds on the rock-funk excursion “Space Is the Place,” while “In the Low Country” closes the album with a touching, richly detailed journey into the heart of the South, crystallized by his sparkling acoustic piano. It just doesn’t get much better.