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T-Bone Burnett

Despite critical acclaim as a performer, the rootsy singer/songwriter T-Bone Burnett earned his greatest renown as a producer, helming recording sessions for acts ranging from Roy Orbison and Elvis Costello to Counting Crows and Sam Phillips. Born Joseph Henry Burnett on January 14, 1948, in St. Louis, Missouri, he grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, soaking in the area's indigenous blend of blues, R&B, and Tex-Mex sounds. Instead of attending college, he opted to open his own Fort Worth recording studio, while also performing in a series of blues bands; in the early '70s he relocated to Los Angeles, producing sessions for Glen Clark and Delbert McClinton.

After recording his own 1972 debut, The B-52 Band & the Fabulous Skylarks, Burnett toured with Delaney & Bonnie before befriending Bob Neuwirth, a singer/songwriter known for his ties to Bob Dylan. Three years later, Dylan invited Burnett to play guitar on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour. After the Revue concluded, he and fellow Rolling Thunder alumni Dave Mansfield and Steve Soles founded the Alpha Band, releasing their eponymous debut in 1977. Spark in the Dark followed later that year, and like its predecessor failed to find commercial favor; when 1978's Statue Makers of Hollywood met a similar fate, the Alpha Band split, and Burnett returned to his solo career. He resurfaced in 1980 with the acclaimed Truth Decay, which, like all of his solo work, found its lyrical center in his spiritual concerns. A move to Warner Bros. followed for 1982's Trap Door EP, and 1983's full-length Proof Through the Night featured guests Pete Townshend, Ry Cooder, and Richard Thompson. Still, commercial success eluded him, and so he continued working as a producer, overseeing highly regarded records like Los Lobos' How Will the Wolf Survive?, Marshall Crenshaw's Downtown, and the BoDeans' Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams.

After recording a self-titled 1986 solo effort, Burnett agreed to produce The Turning, an album for the successful Christian pop singer Leslie Phillips. The album won wide acclaim even from secular outposts, but it was to be Phillips' last overtly religious release; instead, she began performing under her nickname, Sam, and with Burnett's aid, landed a deal with the Virgin label for 1987's acclaimed The Indescribable Wow. Prior to recording her 1991 LP, Cruel Intentions, Phillips and Burnett wed, and he remained in the producer's seat for her later efforts, including 1994's Martinis & Bikinis and 1996's Omnipop. Despite his additional success manning albums like Elvis Costello's masterful 1986 effort King of America as well as producing the star-studded 1987 Roy Orbison tribute Black & White Night, Burnett continued his solo career; like earlier efforts, 1988's The Talking Animals won raves from the press but failed to find an audience outside of his devoted cult following. His output dwindled as his production work increased, and only in 1992 did he release a follow-up, the Spartan Criminal Under My Own Hat. Instead, Burnett remained one of the most prolific and distinctive producers of his day, crafting successes like Costello's Spike, Counting Crows' August and Everything After, the Wallflowers' Bringing Down the Horse, and Gillian Welch's Revival.

Burnett's public profile took a huge leap in 2001 when he served as composer and music producer for the Coen Brothers' film O Brother, Where Art Thou? as well as producing the soundtrack album from the film, which became somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, selling close to nine million copies and earning Burnett four Grammys. He partnered with the Coen Brothers to form DMZ Records in 2002, and the label released several soundtrack albums either produced or executive produced by Burnett, including Cold Mountain, A Mighty Wind, Crossing Jordan, and The Ladykillers. Burnett finally released an album of new original material, The True False Identity, in 2006 on Sony, which that same year also released a 40-song retrospective set spanning Burnett's entire career, Twenty Twenty: The Essential T-Bone Burnett. Tooth of Crime followed in 2008 on Nonesuch Records.

Burnett remained an in-demand producer over the next few years, working with old friends (he helmed Costello's Secret, Profane & Sugarcane), up and coming artists (Grace Potter & the Nocturnals), and classic veterans (Willie Nelson, Gregg Allman), earning perhaps his greatest attention for The Union, a 2010 collaboration between Elton John and Leon Russell, and his music supervision on the Academy Award-winning 2009 film Crazy Heart. Burnett also produced the soundtrack for the 2012 adaptation of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and collaborated with the Civil Wars for the soundtrack for the 2013 food documentary A Place at the Table. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Tooth Of Crime

1. Anything I Say Can And Will Be Use

2. Dope Island

3. The Slowdown

4. Blind Man

5. Kill Zone

6. The Rat Age

7. Swizzle Stick

8. Telepresence

9. Here Come The Philistines

10. Sweet Lullaby

x

Track List: Twenty Twenty: The Essential T-Bone Burnett

Disc 1

1. Humans From Earth

2. Born In Captivity

3. Primitives

4. Power Of Love

5. Fatally Beautiful

6. Monkey Dance

7. The Long Time Now

8. River Of Love

9. Shut It Tight

10. Tear This Building Down

11. The Murder Weapon

12. Image

13. Kill Zone

14. Hula Hoop

15. Criminals

16. Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

17. No Love At All

18. When The Night Falls

19. Over You

20. The Bird That I Held In My Hand

Disc 2

1. Every Little Thing

2. House Of Mirrors

3. The Dogs

4. Shake Yourself Loose

5. Kill Switch

6. I Wish You Could Have Seen Her Dance

7. Hefner And Disney

8. Drivin Wheel

9. Boomerang

10. Euromad

11. Strange Combination

12. East Of East

13. The People's Limousine

14. Trap Door

15. I'm Coming Home

16. It's Not Too Late

17. Song To A Dead Man

18. After All These Years

19. Man, Don't Dog Your Woman

20. Bon Temps Rouler

x

Track List: The True False Identity

1. Zombieland

2. Palestine Texas

3. Seven Times Hotter Than Fire

4. There Would Be Hell To Pay

5. Every Time I Feel The Shift

6. I'm Going On A Long Journey Never To Return

7. Hollywood Mecca Of The Movies

8. Fear Country

9. Baby Don't You Say You Love Me

10. Earlier Baghdad (The Bounce)

11. Blinded By The Darkness

12. Shaken Rattled And Rolled

x

Track List: The Criminal Under My Own Hat

1. Over You

2. Tear This Building Down

3. It's Not Too Late

4. Humans From Earth

5. Primitives

6. Criminals

7. Every Little Thing

8. I Can Explain Everything

9. Any Time At All

10. I Can Explain Everything

11. The Long Time Now

12. Kill Switch

x

Track List: T Bone Burnett

1. River Of Love

2. Poison Love

3. Shake Yourself Loose

4. No Love At All

5. Annabelle Lee

6. I Remember (Instrumental)

7. I Remember

8. Little Daughter

9. Oh No Darling

10. Time

11. Little Daughter (Instrumental)

12. Song To A Dead Man

13. The Bird That I Held In My Hand

x

Track List: Proof Through The Night (Remastered)

1. The Murder Weapon (With Mick Ronson & Masakazu Yoshizawa) [2006 Remastered]

2. Fatally Beautiful (With Pete Townshend) [2006 Remastered]

3. After All These Years (2006 Remastered)

4. Baby Fall Down (With Steven Soles) [2006 Remastered]

5. The Sixties (With Mick Ronson & Pete Townshend) [2006 Remastered]

6. Stunned (With Stan Lynch & Andy Williams) [2006 Remastered]

7. Pressure (With Mick Ronson) [2006 Remastered]

8. Hula Hoop (2006 Remastered)

9. When The Night Falls (With Ry Cooder) [2006 Remastered]

10. Hefner And Disney (With Pete Townshend & Masakazu Yoshizawa) [2006 Remastered]

11. Shut It Tight (With Richard Thompson) [2006 Remastered]

Comments

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jconlee1947
Aggie
I graduated from Paschal High School with Terry Burnett in 1965. Can't remember who/when he received the moniker T-Bone, but I believe it was while we were in high school. Would only see him at our reunions, but despite his acclaim, he was always most umble and very generous. He underwrote the tab for a number of us when we had a dinner at Angelo's BBQ. A very nice man. Have not seen him in a number of years, but have fond memories of our years at PHS.
Report as inappropriate
Lucky to see him live at the 930 Club in DC after the release of The True False Identity in '06. Great to hear an old friend put on a hot show, buoyed by the frenzied & magnificent Mark Ribot on lead guitar (as on the CD). It was also an eerie and pleasant surprise to witness the remarkable resemblance between opening act Jakob Dylan (ties to T-Bone through the Wallflowers) and his dad as a young performer. The particular lighting just worked its magic.
Report as inappropriate
I knew T-Bone when I was a kid. He'd come to my parent's parties in Ojai, this towering cool guy. He played Yellow Rose of Texas on my Dad's guitar. I've still got that guitar in my living room!
Kate Irwin
Report as inappropriate
Haunting
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Haunting and beautiful
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Hehe, his name is BONE...hehe. . . b o n e . . . .
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This song is boaring
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/watch HBO's True Detective..d i s c o v e r T Bone Burnett. He sets the tone for the entire series...
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asrubinstein
By
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Dylan, Townes, T~Bone;
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burkify
He is more his own than Dylan or Reed. True original. I am hypnotized by his voice.
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cowboy4576
He was in Dylan's band-the Rolling Thunder Review
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More Dylan than Lou Reed!
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burkify
Yeah Im wondering where people are getting Dylan and lou reed from his music.
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crapandjunk
T-Bone was Music Master for one of the most creative and inventive re-tellings of the songs of Lennon & McCartney - the movie Across the Universe. Check it out! It is one of the best musicals EVER. I was really moved by the new sounds that he helped Julie Taymor create in that movie. A true masterpiece!
Report as inappropriate
Bob Dylan and Lou Reed? Are you people deaf?
He sounds nothing like them. Other than the fact that he's a singer/songw r i t e r maybe?

The man has produced and directed some of the best albums of the last 20 years, and more. Show some respect.
Report as inappropriate
bobbyannant
I do not like Bob Dylan sound alikes.
Report as inappropriate
Sure sounds like Lou Reed
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the T-bone man has great ear .. and can do it alone
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curtis true ! lol
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dartdriverdo n
Agreeded...t o the T.....
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the bone is fine with me the bone master general
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T the man!
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My oh My.. this is delightfull
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you gotta love T. Bone
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holy sht this is great stuff, what a score
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kylejessmon
never heard this before, it's creepy enough for me. i dig it.
Report as inappropriate
Love his stuff.
Report as inappropriate
r.smart
Instant new fan. I am almost embarrassed that i haven't heard of him before - but i love it.
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don't forget his production expertise which helped land a AOTY Grammy for Raising Sand. dude is sweeeeeeeeee e e e t .
Report as inappropriate
If you like this kind of tunage, check out my Radio Chillage station. Always love to hear comments or suggestions
Report as inappropriate
bromide01
My nickname is also T-bone.
Report as inappropriate
dr.bone42
Wait.. does this have anything to do with trombones? I'm all confused. I play trombone... and sometimes I call them t-bones... you know what, never mind.
Report as inappropriate
Please add his new album, Tooth of Crime, to his discography list.

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