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T Bone for the Main Course

T Bone Burnett: The Producer

Casual music fans might not recognize the name T Bone Burnett. Then again, they just might.

His association with film ventures like O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Walk the Line and Crazy Heart has raised his profile beyond the music community. He’s been a recording artist off and on since the ‘70s, when he was a key member of Bob Dylan’s fabled Rolling Thunder Revue. (His country-flavored self-titled album from 1986 has always been a personal favorite.)

Much of his work, however, has been as a record producer, and it’s a rare producer who earns a serious following of his own. You can put Burnett’s name in a list headed by the likes of Sam Phillips, and George Martin. Of course, more recently, Rick Rubin, Dr. Dre and Timbaland have brought star luster to the task of helping to shape other people’s music.

Burnett’s contributions as a producer are celebrated in our new compilation entitled, appropriately enough, T Bone Burnett: The Producer. Our own Timothy Jones, working in tandem with Burnett, came up with an inspired selection of tracks, the oldest dating back to the ‘80s, when the tall Texan found himself in demand as the result of his efforts in service of Los Lobos, Elvis Costello and Roy Orbison, among others. More recently, he’s done sterling work with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Gregg Allman and Steve Earle. All that and more can be found on our 15-track disc, accompanied by Burnett’s written commentary on what went into each recording.

There are plenty more T Bone-produced records out there worthy of your attention, but this collection provides a perspective on some of the great artists of the last quarter century – including those in front of the mic and the one behind the board.

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