“I got infected with banjo fever,” he deadpans.
Banjo fever is chronic over a lifetime, but in this case the contagion seems to have gone into relative recession for a period of years during which Hornbuckle was seen sporting the Doc Martens and ripped jeans of the "grunge" rock movement. Bassist for the Seattle-based group Son of Man, the Jaybird-to-be was courted by record company giants as part of the signing frenzy brought on by the success of Nirvana. Fortunately for Reischman and company, Son of Man never inked a deal.
Now British Columbia-based, Hornbuckle finds his earliest keyboard lessons and his rocker past still have bearing on his influences, which range from The Police, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles to Flatt and Scruggs, and Beethoven (in the sense that he admires Ludwig's hairdo — no foolin'). He is also a student of old-time music, which informs his unique playing style: a two-finger blend of modal, clawhammer technique and Scruggs-style bluegrass rolls showcased on all the Jaybirds' recordings. As the Los Angeles Daily News says of his banjo work in a recent review of Stellar Jays: “Downright spine-tingling.”
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