Features: Bruce Hornsby (piano, vocals, synthesizer); Jimmy Haslip (bass); John Molo (drums); J.T. Thomas (organ); Debbie Henry (backing vocals); John Dearth (trumpet); Bobby Read (saxophone); Bela Fleck (banjo), Pat Metheny (guitar).
Hornsby is a master of the dark tale, as has been shown in Valley Road and other songs. Often, he has disguised the meaning of the song. The Show Goes On is one great example. However, there’s no mistaking the theme of White-Wheeled Limousine; a wedding-day infidelity which happens in the church grounds as the groom is arriving at the church!!! I need not say much more, suffice to say that after the event,”The father of the bride is drinking so slow”. The musical interest of the song stems from some fine bluegrass banjo solo playing.
Country Doctor is another classic Hornsby dark tale, with a similar rural feel to, for example, Preacher in the Ring. In this instance, I think the doctor has poisoned his wife (with the stuff in the “bottles unmarked”) in order to start a relationship with another woman. If the story is too depressing, then just fast forward to the middle instrumental section, which some hallmarks of a Hornsby and the Range instrumentation: Organ background, electric guitar playing in quite a tight harmony. However, it’s my opinion that on Hot House there is a certain depth to the instrumentation and harmony which I don’t think was heard with the Range. There’s just one puzzling line at the end, written I think from the author’s perspective, which I haven’t grasped the significance of:
“My wife told me one day, I remember kind of strangely, at a friend’s wedding one day, it was a look that he gave me”.
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w/Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
May 24 2014