Hornbuckle brings ‘Good, solid blues and rock’ to Vail
If you go ...
Where: Shakedown Bar, 304 Bridge Street, Vail.
When: 10 p.m. Thursday.
More information: Call 970-479-0556 or visit www.shakedownbarvail.com.
VAIL — The Hornbuckle brothers inherited their love of music from their father, the late Bobby Hornbuckle, who was a legendary Denver bluesman in the ’70s and ’80s. It was the elder Hornbuckle who tried to teach his sons, Michael and Brian, about music’s elusive “it factor” from the time they were young. The boys started performing on stage with their dad as his back-up band as preteens.
“I wasn’t yet 13 years old,” Michael said. “Playing drums for him was sometimes tough because he was hard on drummers in general. I understand better nowadays what he was trying to interpret to me after so many years of trying to analyze why on some nights ‘it’ is there and other nights ‘it’ is harder to find. The ‘it’ factor is just a feeling, or the groove, and when it becomes elusive, it seems the best way to reunite is by relaxing and not forcing it, keep things as simple as possible and it usually ends up returning.”
Michael has performed in the Denver area for the past two decades. His recent album, “Virtue & Vice,” just won a Top 25 Albums of the year in the December issue of national publication “Music Connection” and was named one of the magazine’s Top 100 Unsigned Artists of the Year.
The album also was recognized on a local level, and named Best Self-Produced CD at the recent Mile High Blues Society competition. The band will compete on a national level in Memphis this January.
“‘Virtue & Vice’ is beautifully recorded and produced,” said Mile High Blues Society President Rick Davis. “The songs are brilliant, sad and uplifting. Blues ballads telling a story of failure, struggle and redemption. The performances are first-rate.”
The band performs a free show at Shakedown Bar in Vail Thursday night. Michael took the time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily.
Vail Daily: What made you want to self-produce your most recent album, and how did it turn out?
Michael Hornbuckle: It simply allowed for more freedom in the creation process. Being present for every step, from the writing, preproduction, recording, mixing, etc., gave us any opportunity we needed to provide and offer input. Plus major labels weren’t exactly beating down our doors.
In my semi-humble opinion, the album turned out solid. I couldn’t be happier. The production, playing and songwriting seem to have all come together into one cohesive 16-track album of bad-assness.
VD: I assume you got your love of music from your father, but perhaps I’m wrong. Can you talk to us a little bit about your journey as a musician?
MH: If it wasn’t for my dad, I would almost surely not have picked music as a path. The love of music was already innate in me, however he was the stoke in the fire it seems.
VD: What’s on the horizon for the band that you’re excited about?
MH: We’re excited about the new venues and towns we’ve been getting to play as of late. We have some dates coming up sharing bills with Lionel Young and Hazel Miller. I’m excited, honored and privileged for the opportunity to share blues with those two.
VD: Have you performed in the Vail area before, and if so, where and when?
MH: Through the years, we’ve been through Vail, Beaver Creek, Teluride, etc. It’s been a while — a long while — so long that I couldn’t tell ya the names of the clubs or festivals or whatever they were. But we’re really looking forward returning and making it a memorable occasion.
VD: What can people expect from your show in Vail?
MH: Good, solid blues and rock. No bells and whistles.
VD: What’s a question that journalists often fail to ask but would be good for our readers to know? And be sure to answer it.
MH: I wouldn’t make it on a humility list, but if you asked me to list the guitarists that are the most on fire currently, I would put my name on the list.