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T-Bone Burnett

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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
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Stations Featuring
T-Bone Burnett


Albums by
T-Bone Burnett

Top Songs by
T-Bone Burnett

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   The Strange Case of Frank Cash and the Morning Paper
  3.   God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  4.   The Long Time Now
  5.   Song to a Dead Man
  6.   The Only Thing Worth Fighting For
  7.   Bon Temps Rouler
  8.   Poison Love
  9.   Shake Yourself Loose
  10.   Fear Country
  11.   Zombieland
  12.   The Killer Moon
  13.   Hold on Tight
  14.   The Slowdown
  15.   I'm Going on a Long Journey Never to Return
  16.   Man, Don't Dog Your Woman
  17.   Boomerang
  18.   Nothing in Return
  19.   Kill Switch
  20.   Any Time at All
  21.   Every Little Thing
  22.   Humans from Earth
  23.   Oh No Darling
  24.   River of Love
  25.   After All These Years
  26.   Trap Door
  27.   Poetry
  28.   It Only Takes One Shot by Lera Lynn
  29.   Annabelle Lee
  30.   All the Gold in California featuring Nick Cave
  31.   I Remember
  32.   I Can Explain Everything
  33.   Stunned
  34.   A Church in Ruins by Lera Lynn
  35.   Baby Don't You Say You Love Me
  36.   The Murder Weapon
  37.   What a Way to Go
  38.   East of East
  39.   Earlier Baghdad (The Bounce)
  40.   Seven Times Hotter Than Fire
  41.   Euromad
  42.   Monkey Dance
  43.   Over You
  44.   I Remember [Instrumental]
  45.   No Love at All
  46.   Shut It Tight
  47.   When the Night Falls
  48.   Born in Captivity
  49.   Fatally Beautiful
  50.   Image
  51.   The Rat Age
  52.   Every Time I Feel the Shift
  53.   My Least Favorite Life
  54.   Baby Fall Down
  55.   Sign of the Judgment
  56.   Telepresence (Make the Metal Scream)
  57.   Anything I Say Can and Will Be Used Against You
  58.   Shaken Rattled and Rolled
  59.   Blinded by the Darkness
  60.   Hollywood Mecca of the Movies
  61.   Palestine Texas
  62.   You Could Look It Up
  63.   The Wild Truth
  64.   It's Not Too Late
  65.   Tear This Building Down
  66.   The Bird That I Held in My Hand
  67.   Time
  68.   Hefner and Disney
  69.   The Sixties
  70.   I'm Coming Home
  71.   Kill Zone
  72.   Swizzle Stick
  73.   Dope Island
  74.   Relentless
  75.   Criminals
  76.   House of Mirrors
  77.   I Wish You Could Have Seen Her Dance
  78.   The Battle of Antietam
  79.   The Dogs
  80.   Hula Hoop
  81.   Dance, Dance, Dance
  82.   Here Come the Philistines
  83.   Sweet Lullaby
  84.   Intentional Injury by Bonnie "Prince" Billy
  85.   A Ridiculous Man
  86.   Strange Combination
  87.   Primitives
  88.   There Would Be Hell to Pay
  89.   Pressure
  90.   Blind Man
  91.   The People's Limousine
  92.   Power of Love
  93.   Purple Heart
  94.   Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend