Michael Hornbuckle has been bringing blues and rock music to people for 18 years. Homegrown in the Mile-High City, as was his father, legendary bluesman Bobby Hornbuckle who had Michael backing him on drums at 13. While Bobby’s journey ended in 96′, Michael took over the torch along with brother Brian (bass).
Inheriting Bobby’s old gibson 335, the brothers began working wherever, whenever, and cutting their first recording. In 1998 “Pass The Torch” was released. It’s a raw, respected blues/rock album including; original cuts, covers such as Creams’ version of Outside Woman Blues, and a tip of the hat to the man who passed on his love for blues, with a Bobby Hornbuckle original, Down In The Valley.
Early 2000’s after a Red Rocks appearance warming up the Doobie Brothers, he spent time touring the country with Texas blues monster Vince Converse, and releasing the acoustic blues album Conbuckle Station “Here Come The Blues” on New Shoes Records.
“Lost & Found By Trial & Error” was released in 05′. It was an opportunity to evolve a songwriting style, as well as a defining vocal and guitar sound
A happenstance meeting in Los Angeles in 2012 with world class Universal Picture music producer, and former member of Mother’s Finest, Alex ‘Ace’ Baker, produced the Album Virtue & Vice…
“Michael’s voice is a soulful powerhouse that closely matched the pipes of Paul Rodgers (Bad Company) as they soar over the blues the band hands out on Virtue and Vice, their most recent release.” – Danny B. Alternate Root
“The songs themselves are nothing short of excellent. One of the best things about this album is that every song is its own experience…– Taylor Carlson Rock Over America
2015 after an appearance at the Telluride Blues Fest, the Mile High Blues Society recognized Michael by awarding him: Best Blues Band, Best Self-Produced Album, and sent he and his band to Memphis to represent Colorado at the International Blues Challenge.
The IndiePulse Interview
So, Michael, how does your new album, Soul Repo, differ from Virtue & Vice, your last record that IPMM reviewed in 2014?
I’d say the biggest difference for me was that, Virtue & Vice was performed by the 4 core band members. For SoulRepo, we brought in quite a few guests; Female backgrounds vocals, another guitar player for some spots, 2 different drummers and bass players, and even some blues fiddle from Lionel Young, etc. I explored some different writing with an R&B tunes or 2. I’d like to think that the music still maintains its message, and soulful center, just as I’d say we accomplished on V&V.
Let’s discuss some of the songs on Soul Repo. Is there any recurring theme in many of the tracks?
Aside from the 2 (live) blues songs, the principle melodies are different, but a lot of the same subject matter appears, in the general sense of overcoming personal and collective obstacles. Like being a total fool for a fast woman, or being broke and trying to make a buck in this world without having to commit a felony. There is a lighter, more free, (dare I say) sexier, feel to certain songs like, Angel, and Baby Rock.
Crazy as it sounds, some musicians we have interviewed describe the recording process itself as grueling, not all fun and games. What’s your take on this subject?
I think for me; it just depends on the day. On days when the creative juices are flowing, and there’s lyrical inspiration, melodic ideas are swirling, and there aren’t too many outside life issues demanding my time, then, it can be a very exciting process and I can find myself pleasantly reminded of why I’m in love with what I do. The inspiring days, when things flow with ease, seem to be sufficient enough to get me through the days where everything feels like work, and I’m more cognizant of the deadline than of music, because unfortunately I experience more of the ladder.
Looks like your gigging activity has increased in recent times, along with you playing some high-profile music festivals. What do you attribute this uptick in your activity to?
Well, I don’t this alone which is one of the bigger things that has allowed the pace to pick up. However, I’ve done a lot to improve my work ethic. I teach myself as much as I can, and ask questions where I need to. I’m interested in all angles of this business, though at times that interest is at odds with my desire to stay sane. We’ve also made a concerted effort to prioritize the importance of the show we deliver so that it’s as professional, and musically tight as it can be, and I think it’s paying off.
On a different note, last year you launched the Bobby Hornbuckle foundation, named for your late father. Tell us more about this?
Long story short: We have a long history of addiction/alcoholism in the family tree. My Dad had been taking stabs at recovery, but ended up succumbing to cancer in ’96 before he could enjoy any longevity with abstinence. After my own long arduous journey, I centralized recovery in my life and have found some success at living without drugs and alcohol; A miracle. Myself, and a friend who played a key role early on in helping me sober up, were inspired to do something good in the community. We started up the non-profit to rewrite the legacy behind the Hornbuckle name, and we’ll be opening our first Bobby Hornbuckle Foundation Sober Living Jan. 1, 2017 in Denver, CO.
We know you’re based in Denver, but recall you playing some L.A. area shows in the recent past. How does the Denver live music scene, for indie musicians, compare to the L.A. scene?
They are both spread out markets/scenes but L.A is obviously of an entirely different scope, comparable only to maybe New York or Chicago. However, people are people wherever you go, and I’m most familiar with the blues community wherever I go. Those “scenes” are becoming increasingly smaller but consequently tighter. We have a tight blues community in Denver that has come together to do some great things musically, as well as for each other, and in the community. Although I didn’t experience that in L.A., I suspect it exists. I look forward to getting back out there.
If you weren’t a professional musician, what else do you think you’d be doing for a living?
That’s tough for me to say. Music is in my pedigree and it’s all I’ve ever done. But in the past few years I’ve gotten into the production side of music, and even videographer stuff. I’m really excited about diving deeper into both those things. Whatever the case, it would relate to music somehow.
A few years from now, give or take, where would you like to see your career be at?
I want to be traveling. Different states, different countries, different hemispheres, different planets or galaxies. I’ve long since experienced about all there is to do in Denver and Colorado in general. It’s long overdue. There’s places in the world I want to experience. I’d sure hope playing music would be the keystone to that happening.
Since we have a presidential election just about to happen, if you were to pen a political song, what might the song title be?
Shameless Michael Hornbuckle Plug Time: All your websites/Social Media links for people to keep up with your latest goings-on?