Next month, Bruce Hornsby will reveal his first album in three years, Absolute Zero. For the effort, the Grammy-winning pianist and songwriter enlisted help from a number of special guests, including past collaborator Justin Vernon, who pops up on a track called “Cast-Off”.
The song, also co-written by the Bon Iver genius, is one about “acceptance and even gratitude in the face of rejection, egolessness, patience and humility,” per a statement from Hornsby (via Pitchfork). He elaborated further,
“This song was put together in Eau Claire, WI last April, starting with an unused film cue, developed and expanded upon in the studio with spontaneous contributions from Sean Carey (who just walked in and started singing), Jeremy Ylvisaker (playing guitar that doesn’t sound like guitar!), Mike Lewis and JT Bates on sax and drums, Brad Cook (and later Noisemaker JV Collier) on bass, and Justin and I taking turns in the vocal booth trading ideas and melodies. Pretty much, mostly concocted right there at April Base!”
Musically, “Cast-Off” is a natural melding of both Hornsby’s and Vernon’s worlds. On the one hand, there’s a cinematic coolness to the tune, a nod to Hornsby’s acclaimed work for the big screen (see: all his material with 2018 Filmmaker of the Year Spike Lee); the song’s intricately layered arrangements also call to mind a less electronic version of Bon Iver’s 22, A Million.
As an added bonus, “Cast-Off” also contains a pretty dope line that would’ve made for the perfect AIM Away Message: “I kinda ain’t sh*t, but I embrace it.”
Listen in below.
Previously, Hornsby and Vernon both appeared on the 2016 Grateful Dead covers album, Day of the Dead (Hornsby was considered a member of the Grateful Dead in the ’90s). Vernon also lent his talents to Hornsby’s track “Over the Rise”.
Absolute Zero officially arrives April 12th; S. Carey, Blake Mills, and yMusic are also listed as contributors. In support of the LP, Hornsby announced a new round of US summer tour dates earlier today. Grab your tickets here.