If you’re like me, you’ve always wondered what Bono would look like in Dilbert’s world. Not sure it does him justice, but you can’t blame Scott Adams for not keeping up with Bono’s haircut…return of PopBono…
And yes, keen observers, that is the man, the myth, the legend T-Bone Burnett in the background. If you’re not familiar with T-Bone, among other things, he produced August and Everything After, the O Brother soundtrack (Grammy anyone?) and most recently the soundtrack for the new Wim Wenders film Don’t Come Knocking (title track from Bono, more on Wim Wenders later). I feel it necessary to shed some light on T-Bone Burnett. It’s a little thing we call synchronicity (Carl Jung: Meaningful Coincidence). Another separational degrees experiment.
Music producers fascinate me. I’ve posted in the past about Rick Rubin and Daniel Lanois, two of the best. T-Bone Burnett is among that company. With August and Everything After, the Wallflowers’ Bringing Down the Horse, Roy Orbison’s In Dreams, Elvis Costello’s King of America, Burnett has made a habit of bringing out the best of an artist. If you’re like me and think that August has a unique sound that will always be above the rest of the Crows albums, or if you think that the Wallflowers were never better than “6th Avenue Heartache”, credit T-Bone Burnett’s genius. If you’re like me and were blown away by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon singing Johnny and June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, credit T-Bone Burnett’s genius. His wife Sam Phillips, (perhaps ironically not the Sam Phillips of Sun Studios fame who is in the company of Burnett, Lanois, and Rubin as legendary producer) helped him win another Grammy for producer of the year in 2002 for her album Fan Dance.
Not just a producer of soundtracks and classic albums, T-Bone Burnett is also an accomplished songwriter. He wrote three of the songs for Cold Mountain that you would swear were written by civil war era folksters. Due to his many monikers and aliases, he is rarely credited for the songs he’s written. His songs have been covered by k.d. Lang, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Case, Los Lobos and Emmylou Harris.
What a lot of people don’t realize about him is that he is a pretty fine musician in his own right. He will be releasing two albums this year. One is a greatest hits album Twenty Twenty and the other is a collection of new songs called The True False Identity.