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T Bone Burnett: An Overdue Return

T Bone Burnett.
T Bone Burnett.

Earlier this year, singer-songwriter and folk-rock pioneer T Bone Burnett finally broke his 14-year hiatus as a solo performer. Known for his captivating solo material, and as a producer of everyone from Roy Orbison to Counting Crows, Burnett has spent recent years cementing his place in the culture through work as a producer and record-label head. His involvement in many genres and multiple sides of the music business gives his own work a unique sensibility.

Born Joseph Henry Burnett, he began making records in 1965, producing Texas blues, rock 'n' roll, country and occasionally even his own songs. Following his 1972 debut, The B-52 Band & The Fabulous Skylarks, Burnett launched himself into recording his own work, as well as producing landmark records such as Elvis Costello's King of America. His career as a composer and arranger took off in 2001 when he was asked to assemble the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a monumental best-seller and Grammy winner.

The songs for his new album came from a period of solitude in which he wrote the bulk of his new lyrics. Titled The True False Identity, the disc was recorded with a long list of musicians who shared Burnett's musical influences — which include Bo Diddley, Howlin' Wolf and even Haitian music. Dark yet hopeful, The True False Identity is subtly addictive and well worth the wait preceding its arrival.

Copyright 2006 XPN

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.
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