I had followed Bruce’s career for sixteen years before I first saw R.S.Hornsby join the band onstage. Unmistakably a Hornsby on sight, but to hear him play you were left in no doubt. A world-renowned band, with decades of experience behind each member, changed that night with the addition of a prodigious talent of 20 years old. R.S. immediately brought his own sound and added greatly to songs far older than he was, from the Dead catalog to Bruce’s established range. Spoken of as the “next generation of Deadhead” by those who followed the Dead everywhere, R.S. brought a significant presence with his playing and his character. I’d frequently hear (and always ask), “Is R.S. playing tonight?”
Behind the stage, R.S. was an affable and gracious young man, whose humility belied his gifts. There always seemed to be as big a commotion around him as his uncle, yet he would always seek you out with a warm greeting, a good-natured rib and a huge grin. He was as much a part of the fun offstage as on it – and he was hugely influential in both domains.
R.S. left a real and tangible gift with us all, and as long as the music goes around… so does he.