A worthy companion to their classic debut
ctrx | 'bout to show you how the EAST COAST rocks... | 01/25/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bruce Hornsby and the Range's 1988 sophomore effort "Scenes from the Southside" is a completely worthy companion piece to their classic 1986 debut The Way It Is. Although the debut may have featured slightly better songwriting, this is where Hornsby fully develops his Virginia sound, toning down the heavy synthesizers of The Way It Is in favor of a more organic, expansive approach focused on his brilliant piano playing. "Scenes from the Southside" plays like a 9-track, 48 minute walk through rural Virginia, with lyrics depicting the scenery, lives, homes, and thoughts of the people who live there. "Scenes from the Southside" is a very melodically pleasant piece, maintaining a mellow vibe despite changes in tempo and emotions. Looking back at Hornsby's 25-year career, "Scenes from the Southside" still stands among his finest work, and certainly among his most underrated.
The album opens with two of his finest tracks to date. "Look Out Any Window" is ingenious, chronicling the manner in which many folks overlook the people and occupations that comprise the backbone of their existence. It's a true sonic masterpiece, with an upbeat tempo, amazing piano soloing, and a phenomenal arrangement with a fantastic hook. The classic single "The Valley Road" is equally endearing, a stylish, melodic track with great attitude and strong background vocals. The heartfelt "I Will Walk With You" precedes "The Road Not Taken," a long, well-constructed storytelling ballad. "The Show Goes On" is memorable and appealing, and "The Old Playground" is a late highlight, a yearning for the simplicity of childhood. The relevant statement "Defenders of the Flag" precedes the rallying "Jacob's Ladder," which would go on to be a hit for Huey Lewis. "Till the Dreaming's Done" is an appropriate, contemplative closer.
"Scenes from the Southside" is a very inspired, cohesive album that I highly recommend to all listeners; music of this quality knows no boundaries in taste and style. By now Hornsby has proven an unsung master and a musical renaissance man, and those unfamiliar with his catalog might find this a good starting point."