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