Bruce Hornsby Discusses His Adventurous Compositions and Collaborations on Nakedly Examined Music

Bruce Horns­by is best known for his first album The Way It Is (1986), but has come light years since then through 18+ albums, exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent styles, play­ing over 100 shows with the Grate­ful Dead, and scor­ing numer­ous projects for Spike Lee. He’s won three Gram­mys and record­ed with music roy­al­ty includ­ing Elton John, Ornette Cole­man, Bran­ford Marsalis, Willie Nel­son, Bob Dylan, etc.

On this episode of Naked­ly Exam­ined Music, host Mark Lin­sen­may­er and Bruce dis­cuss “Side­lines” (feat. Ezra Koenig from Vam­pire Week­end) from ‘Flict­ed (2022), “My Resolve” (feat. James Mer­cer of The Shins) from Non-Secure Con­nec­tion (2020), and a new live ver­sion of “Shad­ow Hand” from the 25th Anniver­sary Edi­tion of Spir­it Trail. End song: “Cast-Off” (feat. Justin Ver­non of Bon Iver) from Absolute Zero (2019). Intro: “The Way It Is” (Live from Köln, 2019). Learn more at and

Here, of course, is the orig­i­nal “The Way It is.” Lis­ten to the 2019 NYC Epi­cen­ters ver­sion in full. My favorite sin­gle from that first album was “Every Lit­tle Kiss.” An ear­ly tune recent­ly fea­tured promi­nent­ly in the sec­ond sea­son of the TV show The Bear is “The Show Goes On.”  You may or may not recall that Bruce co-wrote Don Henley’s hit “The End of the Inno­cence”; watch Bruce play that live with sev­er­al jazz greats. Hear the orig­i­nal 1998 ver­sion of “Shad­ow Hand.” Bruce’s 2004 “Hal­cy­on Days” fea­tures both Sting and Eric Clap­ton.

The track that Bruce co-wrote for Bon Iver’s album is “U (Man Like).” Watch the video for “Days Ahead,” anoth­er sin­gle from Bruce’s newest album ‘Flict­edHere’s the video for “Side­lines.” Watch a lyric video for “Cast-Off.” Watch Bruce and James Mer­cer per­form­ing “My Resolve” over the Inter­net dur­ing the pan­dem­ic.

Watch Bruce play piano with The Grate­ful Dead in 1991. Lis­ten to Oth­er Ones (Grate­ful Dead after Jer­ry Garcia’s death) play a clas­sic Horns­by tune, “White-Wheeled Lim­ou­sine,” live in 1998. His own ver­sion of that (from 1995’s Hot House), fea­tured Pat Methe­ny and Béla Fleck. Watch him live in 2012 with Bob Weir and Bran­ford Marsalis play­ing his tune “Stand­ing on the Moon.”

Lis­ten to Bruce on The Art of Longevi­ty pod­castHere he is on Soda­jerk­er. Bruce’s appear­ance on Ezra Koenig’s Time Cri­sis pod­cast is on #126, and you may be able to hear it with an Apple Music sub­scrip­tion.

Pho­to by Kat Fish­er.

Naked­ly Exam­ined Music is a pod­cast host­ed by Mark Lin­sen­may­er, who also hosts The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast, Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast, and Phi­los­o­phy vs. Improv. He releas­es music under the name Mark Lint.

Bruce Thomas, Bassist for The Attractions, Discusses the Art of the Bassline on Nakedly Examined Music

Bruce is best known as Elvis Costello’s bassist on about a dozen albums as The Attrac­tions, but Bruce has been in bands since 1970 and has done numer­ous ses­sion gigs, most notably for Al Stewart’s ear­ly albums, plus The Pre­tenders, John Wes­ley Hard­ing, Bil­ly Bragg, and many more.

Your Naked­ly Exam­ined Music host Mark Lin­sen­may­er inter­views Bruce  to dis­cuss his work on “Blood Makes Noise” by Susanne Vega from 99.9 Degrees (1992), play clips from sev­er­al of the most famous Attrac­tions tunes (using when pos­si­ble the 1978 Live at the El Mocam­bo album) plus “La La La La Loved You” by The Attrac­tions (w/o Elvis) from Mad About the Wrong Boy (1980), the first half of the title track of Quiver’s Gone in the Morn­ing (1972), and we con­clude by lis­ten­ing to a cov­er of The Bea­t­les “There’s a Place” by Spencer Brown and Bruce Thomas from Back to the Start (2018). Intro: “Radio Radio” by The Attrac­tions feat. Fito Paez from Span­ish Mod­el (2021). For more about Bruce’s musi­cal and lit­er­ary projects, see

Hear all of “Radio Radio” in Span­ish plus the orig­i­nal. Hear the full ver­sions of the Attrac­tions clips: “Chelsea,” “Pump It Up,” “Club­land,” and “Every­day I Write the Book.” Hear all of “Gone in the Morn­ing” plus “Killer Man,” whose bass solo is at 4min in. Here’s Bruce demo­ing some of his partsWatch the video for “There’s Is a Place.” Here’s one of the Al Stew­art albums that Bruce plays onHere he is live just pre-Attrac­tions with The Sun­der­land Broth­ers and Quiver.

Naked­ly Exam­ined Music is a pod­cast host­ed by Mark Lin­sen­may­er, who also hosts The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast, Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast, and Phi­los­o­phy vs. Improv. He releas­es music under the name Mark Lint.

Asleep at the Wheel Frontman Ray Benson Discusses Half a Hundred Years of Songwriting: Stream the Nakedly Examined Music Interview Online

This week’s Naked­ly Exam­ined Music pod­cast fea­tures the Gram­my-win­ning Texas swing band, Asleep at the Wheel, which Ray found­ed in 1969. They’ve released 26 albums of orig­i­nal tunes and clas­sic cov­ers while tour­ing con­stant­ly, with Ray being the only con­sis­tent mem­ber through their var­i­ous line-ups.

Your host Mark Lin­sen­may­er talks with Ray about the title track from Half a Hun­dred Years (2021), “Ped­er­nales Stroll” from Keepin’ Me Up Nights (1990), and “Am I High” from The Wheel (1977). Intro: “The Let­ter (That John­ny Walk­er Read)” from Texas Gold (1975). Clos­er: “The Road Will Hold Me Tonight” feat. Emmy­lou Har­ris and Willie Nel­son, record­ed in the ear­ly 80s but only released now on the new album. Learn more at

Watch the video for “Half a Hun­dred Years.” Watch “Am I High?” live on 80s TV. Here’s the band live recent­ly at the Paste Stu­dio and play­ing their 25th Anniver­sary show on Austin City Lim­its in 1996. Their most famous tune is “Hot Rod Lin­coln.” Here they are with Willie Nel­son. Here’s a very old TV per­for­mance of “Take Me Back to Tul­sa.” Hear all of “The Let­ter (That John­ny Walk­er Read).

Image by Mike Shore.

Naked­ly Exam­ined Music is a pod­cast host­ed by Mark Lin­sen­may­er, who also hosts The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast, Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast, and Phi­los­o­phy vs. Improv. He releas­es music under the name Mark Lint.

Brian Cullman, Veteran NY Music Scenester/Journalist/Producer, Shares His Tunes and Musings About Death: Nakedly Examined Music Podcast #137

Bri­an start­ed as a teen music enthu­si­ast and jour­nal­ist as ear­ly as 1970, run­ning into folks like Jim Mor­ri­son and Nico and mak­ing con­nec­tions with every musi­cian he could lay eyes on. He lever­aged this effort into find­ing vehi­cles for his songs, first with OK Savant (ca. 1990), a band that fre­quent­ed CBG­Bs and then broke up right as it was signed to a major label. After some false starts and life changes, he like­wise used his net­work to sup­port his cre­ation of three and half solo albums start­ing in 2008. He has also been an active pro­duc­er and col­lab­o­ra­tor for artists like Olla­belle, Lucin­da Williams & Taj Mahal, and sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al musi­cians.

Each episode of the Naked­ly Exam­ined Music pod­cast involves pick­ing three record­ings from an artist’s cat­a­log to play in full and dis­cuss in detail. Your host Mark Lin­sen­may­er here engages Bri­an about “Killing The Dead” (and we lis­ten to “Wrong Birth­day” at the end; see the video below) from Win­ter Clothes (2020, writ­ten with now-deceased Olla­belle gui­tarist Jimi Zhiva­go), “And She Said” from The Oppo­site of Time (2016), and “The Promise” from All Fires The Fire (2008). Intro: “The Book of Sleep” by OK Savant, record­ed live at CBG­Bs in 1990. For more, see

Watch Bri­an live (with Jimi Zhiva­go and oth­ers) in 2016. Anoth­er new, col­or­ful­ly ani­mat­ed video is for the bluesy “Walk the Dog Before I Sleep.” One from his pre­vi­ous album is “Every­thing That Ris­es.” Hear the full, remas­tered record­ing of “The Book of Sleep.” Hear the song he wrong for Nick Drake (whom he opened for in 1970). Hear one of the tunes he did for Rua Das Pre­tas.

The bass play­er on Bri­an’s albums is Byron Isaacs (also of Olla­belle), whom Naked­ly Exam­ined Music inter­viewed for episode #82.

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion and anoth­er song, avail­able to Naked­ly Exam­ined Music Patre­on sup­port­ers.

Pho­to by Bill Flick­er.

Naked­ly Exam­ined Music is a pod­cast host­ed by Mark Lin­sen­may­er, who also hosts The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast and Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast. He releas­es music under the name Mark Lint.

Peter Milton Walsh of The Apartments Rejects Assembly-Line Recording: A Nakedly Examined Music Conversation (#135)

Aus­tralian singer-song­writer Peter Mil­ton Walsh start­ed The Apart­ments in the late ’70s, and our inter­view begins with a snip­pet of the open­ing track from, “Help” from his 1979 Return of the Hyp­no­tist EP. He also around this time played with the Go Betweens and oth­er groups, and released The Apart­ments’ first LP, The Evening Visits…and Stays for Years, in 1985, a heart-wrench­ing affair which made it onto the New Music Express “albums of the year” list. This led to some sin­gles, one of which–“The Shyest Time”–made it onto the sound­track of the 1987 John Hugh­es film Some Kind of Won­der­ful.

The band had all the moody jan­gling of ear­ly REM, the Smiths, and The Psy­che­del­ic Furs, with a unique front man, strong melodies, and the mood of the moment? So why (pre­sum­ably) have you not heard of this group? Their 1993 album drift (the first full album since their debut) was appar­ent­ly a big hit in France, but none of their work sold par­tic­u­lar­ly well in the Eng­lish-speak­ing world. As Peter reveals on this episode of Naked­ly Exam­ined Music, he did­n’t much like high-pres­sure stu­dio record­ing, result­ing in whole eras of his song­writ­ing left large­ly undoc­u­ment­ed.

Per­son­al tragedy also derailed his career from the late ’90s until the late ’00s when he returned to live per­form­ing and even­tu­al­ly released a cou­ple of real­ly dev­as­tat­ing albums, includ­ing 2015’s No Song, No Spell, No Madri­gal and the new­ly released In and Out of the Light.

On each episode of the Naked­ly Exam­ined Music Pod­cast, host Mark Lin­sen­may­er plays four of an artist’s songs in full and dis­cuss­es them with the song­writer at length. Here Mark and Peter dis­cuss the struc­ture and record­ing of two songs off the new album: “What’s Beau­ty to Do?” and “Where You Used to Be.” They then look back to the mid­dle of The Apart­ments’ ’90s out­put with “Sun­set Hotel” from Fête Foraine (1996), a song cap­tur­ing his obser­va­tions of a group of hero­in addicts. Final­ly you’ll hear “Look­ing for Anoth­er Town” from that 2015 come-back album.

For more Apart­ments: The first come-back song was real­ly 2011’s “Black Rib­bon,” which you can watch him play solo. Per­haps my favorite song he’s done is the doom-epic “What’s Left of Your Nerve” from drift. You can watch a recent live ver­sion of “Sun­set Hotel” and catch the offi­cial video for “What’s Beau­ty to Do.” More at

Naked­ly Exam­ined Music is a pod­cast host­ed by Mark Lin­sen­may­er, who also hosts The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast and Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast. He releas­es music under the name Mark Lint.

Chris Frantz Breaks Down How He Crafted Songs for Talking Heads & Tom Tom Club: A Nakedly Examined Music Interview

Chris found­ed Talk­ing Heads in the ear­ly ’70s with his wife Tina Wey­mouth and David Byrne, and he focus­es heav­i­ly on these ear­ly years of his career in his new mem­oir Remain in Love, describ­ing it as very much a group effort, even though they inten­tion­al­ly put the spot­light on David, who in turn pret­ty ear­ly on announced that he had to write all the lyrics, that he could­n’t sing oth­er peo­ple’s songs.

On the Naked­ly Exam­ined Music Pod­cast, Mark Lin­sen­may­er inter­views song­writ­ers about their cre­ative deci­sion-mak­ing, and in this inter­view, Chris tells how he and Tina and David col­lab­o­rat­ed on lyrics for their ear­ly sin­gle “Psy­cho Killer,” and then how Chris’ lyrics were used for “Warn­ing Sign,” a song (played in full as part of the pod­cast) that appeared on the Heads’ sec­ond album, 1978’s More Songs About Build­ings and Food.

Also sur­pris­ing is that Chris and Tina’s spin-off band, Tom Tom Club, formed in an inter­val when both David and the Heads’ lead gui­tarist Jer­ry Har­ri­son want­ed to pause Talk­ing Heads to record solo albums, actu­al­ly had its best-sell­ing sin­gle, “Genius of Love,” pri­or to the Talk­ing Heads real finan­cial suc­cess with hits like “Burn­ing Down the House” and “And She Was.”

The inter­view includes a detailed treat­ment of the com­po­si­tion and arrange­ment of two Tom Tom Club songs that are also played in full: “Bam­boo Town,” a reg­gae-inspired track from their sec­ond album Close to the Bone (1983); and “Who Feel­in’ It,” a dance track replete with record scratch per­cus­sion from The Good the Bad and the Funky (2000). This song was lat­er remixed by The inter­view con­cludes with a song that Chris sings: the title track from Tom Tom Club’s most recent release, Down­town Rock­ers (2012).

Both these last two tracks have as their main lyrics lists of artists that Chris and Tina want­ed to pay trib­ute to, both in influ­enc­ing their musi­cal sen­si­bil­i­ties and/or play­ing shows with them at CBG­B’s dur­ing their for­ma­tive years as Talk­ing Heads in New York City. Chris’ book gives us a vivid glimpse of that scene, as well as the excite­ment of their first album, work­ing with Bri­an Eno, their first Euro­pean tour, and oth­er mile­stones all the way up to their induc­tion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, which was their first time play­ing togeth­er since the group’s split in 1991.

For more Naked­ly Exam­ined Music in-depth inter­views about song­writ­ing, arrange­ment, and the musi­cal life, vis­it

Mark Lin­sen­may­er is also the host of The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast and Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast. He releas­es music under the name Mark Lint.


Nakedly Examined Music Podcast Explores Songwriting with Cracker, King Crimson, Cutting Crew, Jill Sobule & More

I’m Mark Lin­sen­may­er, the host of The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast, and I’d like to intro­duce you to a new-in-2016 inter­view series called Naked­ly Exam­ined Music (iTunes — Face­book — RSS) that fea­tures great song­writ­ers talk­ing about their moti­va­tions and tech­niques regard­ing spe­cif­ic songs.

In episode one, for instance, indie rock icon and activist for artist rights David Low­ery decon­struct­ed the lyrics for his sto­ry songs “All Her Favorite Fruit” (Camper Van Beethoven, 1989) and “I Sold the Arabs the Moon” (from his 2011 solo album), con­trast­ing these with the non­sense song that launched his career, “Take the Skin­heads Bowl­ing.”

The songs dis­cussed are played in full, and the idea is to get a sense of the artist’s approach in very spe­cif­ic terms, and how this has changed over time. In episode 15, Craig Wedren shows us his devel­op­ment from writ­ing heavy (“post-hard­core”), dis­so­nant music in the 90s with Shud­der to Think, to cre­at­ing dis­co synth­scapes with his ear­ly 00’s band Baby, to now com­pos­ing music for sound­tracks like Net­flix’s “Wet Hot Amer­i­can Sum­mer: First Day of Camp.”

The empha­sis in a giv­en inter­view depends on the artist: Gui­tar vir­tu­oso Gary Lucas (Cap­tain Beef­heart, Jeff Buck­ley) eschews music the­o­ry, so the focus is more on the ide­ol­o­gy of cre­ation, where­as tap-gui­tar wiz­ard Trey Gunn (King Crim­son, David Syl­vian) instructs us in com­bin­ing time sig­na­tures and solo­ing in modes. The inter­views both teach us how to lis­ten to and appre­ci­ate music by show­ing us what to focus on, and also serve to instruct song­writ­ers real and vic­ar­i­ous about deci­sions that go into a choice of chord or lyric or instru­men­ta­tion.

What kind of music can you expect to hear? Offi­cial­ly, any­thing that has thought behind it, but I’m start­ing with my expe­ri­ence as musi­cian (see and music lover grow­ing up in the 80s and 90s lis­ten­ing to pop­u­lar, indie, folk, punk, and pro­gres­sive rock. There hare been some move­ment into soul (Episode 16 fea­tures the great Nara­da Michael Walden, who pro­duced Whit­ney Hous­ton among many oth­ers), elec­tron­i­ca (Gareth Mitchell), coun­try (Beth Kille), and future episodes will ven­ture into clas­si­cal, hip-hop, and world music. More typ­i­cal, how­ev­er (i.e. more akin to my own writ­ing), are fig­ures like 90s sweet­heart and polit­i­cal activist Jill Sob­ule, cow-punk pio­neer Jon Lang­ford (Mekons), grunge-ped­dler turned sym­phon­ist Jonathan Don­ahue (Mer­cury Rev), NPR dar­ling Chad Clark (Beau­ty Pill), and 80s Cut­ting Crew front-man Nick Eede. One of the episodes next to be released will fea­ture Bill Bru­ford (Yes, King Crim­son, Earth­works).

Lis­ten to Jill Sob­ule in episode 18:

In one of the most inter­est­ing inter­views (episode 3), major league music video director–and mem­ber of 70s super­group 10cc and 80s duo God­ley & Creme–Kevin God­ley takes us from 70s prog excess (and get­ting to record jazz leg­end Sarah Vaugh­an) into the New Wave and out of music alto­geth­er, only to redis­cov­er it post-retire­ment.

This is not about get­ting behind the scenes with your favorite stars or any oth­er hype of that sort, but about talk­ing with smart peo­ple to fig­ure out the lan­guage of music, the moti­va­tions behind cre­ation, and the tech­niques avail­able for self-expres­sion. In the course of these dis­cus­sions, we get into chang­ing trends in mak­ing a liv­ing in music (or not!), new music tech­nolo­gies, and, of course, philo­soph­i­cal issues.

Mark Lin­sen­may­er is a writer and musi­cian in Madi­son, WI. His Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast has been down­loaded more than 15 mil­lion times. Learn more about Naked­ly Exam­ined Music at, sub­scribe via iTunes, or fol­low on Face­book.

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