Spirit Trail

Spirit Trail is the sixth studio album by American pianist and singer Bruce Hornsby, released by RCA Records as a double CD in 1998. The cover artwork depicts Hornsby's uncle, Charles Hornsby.[2]

Spirit Trail
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 13, 1998
LabelRCA Records
ProducerBruce Hornsby / Michael Mangini and Hornsby (tracks 3 and 14)
Bruce Hornsby chronology
Hot House
Spirit Trail
Here Come The Noise Makers
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic2.5/5 stars[1]

The album blended instrumental tracks with the story-telling, rock, jazz, and other musical forms Hornsby had delved into over his career. Over the two discs, Hornsby wove a tapestry of varied textures, from the fervent spirituality and almost gospel dirge of "Preacher in the Ring, parts I & II," to the catchy chord progressions of "Sad Moon."[3]

Spirit Trail has been often mentioned to be one of Bruce Hornsby's best albums.[citation needed] Several tracks, notably "Fortunate Son", have since become fan favorites and staples at Hornsby's concerts.

Among other homages, the song "Sunflower Cat (Some Dour Cat) (Down With That)" sampled and looped the main lick from the Grateful Dead song "China Cat Sunflower."[4] Spirit Trail considered "very Southern" themes with "songs about race, religion, judgment and tolerance" and "struggles with these issues"[3]—notably on "Sneaking Up on Boo Radley," which references the character from Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Track listingEdit

All songs by Bruce Hornsby, except where noted.

Disc 1
1."King of the Hill" 6:17
2."Resting Place" 4:44
3."Preacher in the Ring, Part I" 5:02
4."Preacher in the Ring, Part II" 4:46
5."Song C" 2:46
6."Sad Moon" 6:33
7."Pete and Manny"Hornsby, John Hornsby3:14
8."Fortunate Son" 4:14
9."Sneaking up on Boo Radley" 5:15
10."Great Divide" 5:01
Disc 2
1."Line in the Dust" 4:42
2."See the Same Way" 5:36
3."Shadow Hand" 4:16
4."Sunlight Moon"Hornsby, Keith Hornsby, Michael Mangini, Russell Hornsby4:20
5."Listen to the Silence" 4:34
6."Funhouse" 4:22
7."Sunflower Cat (Some Dour Cat) (Down With That)"Hornsby, Jerry Garcia, Michael Mangini, Robert Hunter3:55
8."Song D" 2:03
9."Swan Song" 4:56
10."Variations on Swan Song and Song D" 3:53

Single disc versionEdit

In some territories, including the UK, this album was released as a single disc, omitting the tracks "Sunlight Moon", "Listen To The Silence" and "Funhouse". The track order was also changed, with the first three tracks of the second disc ("Line In The Dust" through "Shadow Hand") opening the album, the entirety of the first disc following, and the final four tracks of the second disc ("Sunflower Cat" through "Variations...") at the end.



  • Produced by Bruce Hornsby (Tracks #1, 2, 4-13, 15-17); Bruce Hornsby and Michael Mangini (Tracks #3 & 14).
  • Production Assistance – Melissa Reagan
  • Production Coordination – Sue Tropio
  • Engineers – Wayne Pooley (Tracks #1, 2, 4-13, 15-17), Skoti Alain Elliot (Tracks #3 & 14) and Mark Needham (Tracks #4-7, 11 & 12).
  • Second Engineer (Tracks #3 & 14) – Sharon Kearney
  • Mixed by Wayne Pooley (Tracks #1-13, 15-17) and Skoti Alain Elliot (Track #14).
  • Mastered by Tom Coyne at Sterling Sound (New York, NY).
  • Art Direction and Design – Bruce Hornsby and Kim Biggs
  • Photography – Danny Clinch
  • Liner Notes – Chip DeMatteo


  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Bruce Hornsby: Spirit Trail > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  2. ^ Liner notes, Spirit Trail.
  3. ^ a b Bendersky, Ari (1998-10-15). "Bruce Hornsby Redefines Himself". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-05-04.
  4. ^ Heisler, Brett I. (2000-10-09). "Grateful Family and Friend: Bruce Hornsby". philzone.com. Retrieved 2007-05-04.