Looking back at Spirit Trail

Bruce Hornsby’s Spirit Trail 25th anniversary box set is out now! Purchase links are below. We’ve had a month-long release party here on Bruuuce.com, where we looked back on the record – with your help!

You can pick up your copy of Spirit Trail 25th anniversary box set now at:

Here on Bruuuce.com we took a look back at various documents, reviews and online chats from 1998, and how the world was living 25 years ago. Here’s a link to each:

A look back at Spirit Trail – the build up

Advance reviews – August 1998

September 1998 reviews

The cover!

Release day

The world in 1998

Local press

Post release on the Bruce Hornsby newsgroup

Swan Song consternation

Stereo Review magazine coverage and follow-up newsletter

We also enjoyed your thoughts on:

King of the Hill

“A really solid opener to the album that has aged well. It’s great on stage with the expansive piano solo in the middle being a portal to extended jamming.” – Andrew S

Resting Place

“Always been one of my favorites. Love the lead piano riff in the middle of the song. Boo Radley has a great lead in it too.” – Brad H

“This song has long been one of my favorites. The guitar riff underneath Bruce’s piano runs in the intro and coming out of the chorus complement each other so well. Another song with a lot of room for the Noisemakers to *really* stretch out and thus this one is incredible on stage. The imagery in the chorus is great – I can feel myself sitting in a hailstorm with the wind “whipping” my face. Songs like this and a few others (King of the Hill, Funhouse) are why Spirit Trail holds up so well – they are expansive and have a lot of space for extended jamming.” – Andrew S.

Sneaking Up on Boo Radley

“To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite movie. So much that I named my dog Scout. Her formal name is Miss Jean Louise Sneakin’ Up on Boo Radley” – Virginia W.

“It seems to reflect the movie and that scene pretty well. Dark but hopeful. A kid’s sense of curiosity, fear and adventure.” – Keith A.

Preacher in the Ring

“This song didn’t do much for me when Spirit Trail was first released, but it has really grown on me. I prefer the slower tempo and the haunting intro in Part I, but Part II has a really uptempo danceable groove to it.
This shows how malleable Bruce’s songs are that the same lyrics can basically create two completely different songs.” – Andrew S.

Fortunate Son

“Hard to pick a favorite track on Spirit Trail. But if I HAD to, it would be Fortunate Son.” – Chris B.

“Amazing such a moving song have no words to describe it ! Amazing spirit, divine talent” – Terry W.

Line in the Dust
“A great song, another one that really has grown on me and one I’ve gained a great appreciation for. Our (adopted) sons are a different ethnicity than me and my wife, so this song really speaks to us.” – Andrew S.
“This song finds a different universe on stage. It’s a nice little song on the album … it becomes a tour de force with JT, John and Gibb taking it into the stratosphere on extended jams. It may be the best “live” song off Spirit Trail.” – Andrew S.
“Great song, Bobby Read wails on this song.” – Rich H.
Pete and Manny
“I love the accordion on Pete and Manny. Spirit Trail has a rich musicality!” – Kim D.
“Love this song! One of my three faves on Spirit Trail” – Brian L.
Sad Moon
“Sad Moon is my favorite, I would have driven from Virginia to Indiana just to hear the piano outro live again. those spooky mysterious last couple of bars!” – Timothy L.
“Again, youth/ early adulthood story in song. Bruce does this so well…” – Rich H.
Sunflower Cat
“As a Deadhead (and one who really started listening to the Dead because of Bruce), this is a fun song. I love how he took the riff from China Cat Sunflower and created something new that – much like its namesake – can offer a lot of opportunities for high-level jamming.” – Andrew S.
Swan Song
“Swan Song is one that just breaks me every time. It didn’t affect me when it first came out. That’s because I was still young and hadn’t lived it yet.” – Josh P.

“Swan Song is amazing. So happy to see this number popping up at live shows on the 25th tour. It’s too good not to be played more! One of Bruce’s best!” – Charlie G.

“Swan Song is in the pantheon of songs like Road Not Taken, which is just a beautiful song with a great piano hook driving the melody. Obviously, it works really well as an encore, but it’s long been one of my favorite Bruce songs. It’s my favorite song off Spirit Trail.” – Andrew S.

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