Joseph Henry "T-Bone" Burnett (born January 14, 1948) is an American musician, songwriter, and soundtrack and record producer. He was a touring guitarist in Bob Dylan's band on the Rolling Thunder Revue. After the tour ended, Burnett and two other members of the backing band formed The Alpha Band, followed by his first solo album in 1980.

Burnett has produced artists such as Roy OrbisonLisa Marie PresleyJohn MellencampLos LobosCounting CrowsElton John & Leon RussellElvis Costello and his wife Diana KrallNatalie Merchant and The Wallflowers as well as Tony Bennett and k.d. lang on the A Wonderful World album. Burnett wonGrammy Awards for the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack and for his work with Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his songwriting contribution to the film Cold Mountain, and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart. He founded the record label DMZ, an imprint of Columbia, and was involved with Mark Heard and Tonio K in the short-lived What? Records. He oversaw the music for the films Walk the Line and The Big Lebowski.[citation needed]


 [hide*1 Early life and musical career

Early life and musical career[edit]Edit

Burnett was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1948, and raised in Fort Worth, Texas.[1] He attended R.L. Paschal High School, and is featured in the school's Hall of Honor.[2] He played rhythm guitar in a band called The Shadows. His first significant contribution to the music field was as the manic drummer for the Legendary Stardust Cowboy's novelty hit, "Paralyzed."[3]

T-Bone first appeared on The Unwritten Works of Geoffrey, Etc. as part of the pseudonymous Whistler, Chaucer, Detroit and Greenhill, released in 1968 on Uni Records and on which he also produced and wrote 4 of the 11 tracks.[4] Also, in 1968, he produced 6 songs for a group of friends, called at the time, "The Case Hardy Boys". Later this band would move to Los Angeles and become known first as "The Fare", and later as "El Roacho", and would have songs produced by T-Bone Burnett and Daniel Moore (who sang on T-Bone's most recent album), as well as Steve Katz. In 1972, he moved to Los Angeles and recorded his second album, The B-52 Band and the Fabulous Skylarks.[1] In 1975 and 1976, he toured with Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue.[1]

When the Revue ended, Burnett and two other members of Dylan's band, David Mansfield and Steven Soles, formed The Alpha Band,[1] which released three albums. The Alpha Band and Spark in the Darkwere both released in 1977, while The Statue Makers of Hollywood was released in 1978.[citation needed]

T-Bone and singer-songwriter Sam Phillips were married in 1989 and divorced in 2004. He produced many of her albums, including Martinis and Bikinis and Cruel Inventions. He is currently married to screenwriter Callie Khouri.[citation needed]

Solo career[edit]Edit

In 1980, Burnett released his first post-Alpha Band solo album, Truth Decay, produced by Reggie Fisher, on the Takoma Records label. Truth Decay was a roots rock album described by the Rolling Stone Record Guide as "mystic Christian blues". In 1982, his Trap Door EP, (also produced by Reggie Fisher) and released on the Warner Brothers label, yielded the FM radio hit "I Wish You Could Have Seen Her Dance". Burnett toured after the release of Trap Door, opening several dates for The Who, leading a band that featured Mick Ronson on guitar. His 1983 album Proof Through the Night, whose song "When the Night Falls" got some FM airplay, and his 1987 album The Talking Animals were more in the vein of 1980s new wave music, while his self-titled 1986 album was an album of acoustic country music. His 1992 album The Criminal Under My Own Hat, tended toward adult album alternative music. All were critically acclaimed but not big sellers commercially.[citation needed]

Proof Through the Night was reissued by Rhino Records' Handmade Music in a limited-edition of 5,000 on May 29, 2007, in an expanded version. The double CD also included the EPs Trap Door and Behind the Trap Door.[5] In 2006, he released two albums. The True False Identity was his first album of new songs since 1992, and Twenty Twenty – The Essential T-Bone Burnett was a 40-song career retrospective.

Production and other professional activities[edit]Edit

See also: List of albums produced by T-Bone Burnett

Burnett began producing albums for artists such as Counting Crows' August and Everything After; Los Lobos' How Will the Wolf Survive?Elvis Costello's King of America and Spikethe Wallflowers'Bringing Down the HorseMarshall Crenshaw's DowntownSpinal Tap's Break Like The WindGillian Welch's Revival and Hell Among the YearlingsDavid Poe's self-titled debut; the Roy Orbison tribute A Black & White Night Live; two albums for Bruce Cockburn; and nearly everything released by his former wife, Sam Phillips, who has also performed under the name Leslie Phillips.

In 1985, Burnett collaborated with Elvis Costello on a single titled "The People's Limousine," using the moniker "The Coward Brothers." In 1987, he produced Roy Orbison's two-record album, In Dreams: The Greatest Hits and two songs of Mystery Girl. In 1997, he created new songs for the Sam Shepard play, The Tooth of Crime: Second Dance, which premiered in New York City, during the same year in an off-Broadway production that featured Vincent D'Onofrio and Kirk Acevedo. A CD of these songs, Tooth of Crime, was released in May 2008, featuring guitarist Marc Ribot and backing vocals by Sam Phillips and singer/songwriter David Poe, whose self-titled debut Burnett also produced that year. According to Burnett, he was inspired by the music of Skip James, while composing the songs for the updated version of Shepard's play.[6]

In April 2006, he announced that his first concert tour in nearly two decades would begin on May 16 in Chicago at The Vic Theater. Around the same time, jazz singer Cassandra Wilson released an album of blues songs, Thunderbird (2006), which was produced by Burnett. He also wrote one of the album's songs and co-wrote another with Ethan Coen. He produced music for the remake of the film All the King's Men. In 2006, Burnett produced Brandi Carlile's The Story album, the title song of which became a minor hit and was featured on a special broadcast of ABC-TV's Grey's Anatomy. Carlile's guitarist and bassist, twins Tim and Phil Hanseroth, respectively, used instruments from Burnett's private collection during the unique "live" recordings in Vancouver, British Columbia. In early 2007, Burnett earned nominations for two 2006 Grammy Awards, one as Producer of the Year for his work on Cassandra Wilson's Thunderbird album, the soundtrack to Walk the Line and his own The True False IdentityWalk the Line was nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Burnett earned another nomination for his efforts as Executive Music Producer and Album Producer on that soundtrack.[citation needed]

In October 2007, the Grammy-winning, Burnett-produced Raising Sand, a collaborative album featuring Alison Krauss and Robert Plant was released. Burnett plays guitar on ten of the 13 tracks.

[1][2]T-Bone Burnett on stage at Birmingham'sNIA, May 5, 2008 with Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

In early 2008, Pete Townshend announced that Burnett was to go into the studio that fall to help produce an all covers album for The Who.[7] However, on a May 15, 2008, episode of the NPR radio show, All Songs Considered, Burnett threw that project into question. He stated that in a blog, Townshend had indicated that he was putting all his projects on hold.[8]

In 2008, it was reported that Burnett "started a new venture called Code, which aims to do for music what THX did for movie-theater sound: set standards that ensure the best possible quality."[9] He is opposed to the trend of brighter and more compressed processing, sufficiently so, that he essentially retired from the music business around 1995–1996 and pursued an opportunity to work in theater with Sam Shepard, leading to his work on several films.[10]

The audio format known as Code, involves the simultaneous release of multiple sound formats, thus avoiding much of the processing which happens when sound is converted from one format to another. Burnett produced John Mellencamp's album Life, Death, Love and Freedom, which was the first Code album when it was released on July 15, 2008.[9] Burnett also produced Mellencamp's follow-up to Life, Death, Love and Freedom, titled No Better Than This.

In 2009, Burnett produced albums for Moonalice and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.[11] In that same year, he also produced Elvis Costello's album,Secret, Profane & Sugarcane as well as co-writing the song "Sulfur to Sugarcane" with Costello.[12]

Burnett produced a collaboration album by Elton John and Leon Russell. John, Russell, and Bernie Taupin (John's lyricist) wrote songs together in late 2009. The album, which is titled The Union, was recorded in January 2010 and released in October 2010.

In 2010, Burnett produced Gregg Allman's Low Country Blues album (released in January 2011).[13]

Burnett has started production, as of January 2011, on Lisa Marie Presley's third album Storm And Grace in Los Angeles. The album was released on May 15, 2012.

In 2014, Burnett worked on the production of the forthcoming album by the Punch Brothers.

Work in films[edit]Edit

In 1992, Burnett worked on some songs with his friend River Phoenix, for the movie The Thing Called Love. He was the coach of Samantha Mathis.[citation needed]

In 2000, Burnett produced the soundtrack and wrote the score for the Coen Brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?. The award-winning soundtrack featured music from Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss,Ralph Stanley, Gillian Welch, and others performing traditional American folk musicblues and bluegrass — reminiscent of Burnett's 1986 self-titled release. The album was a hit, garnering numerous industry awards from the Grammys, Academy of Country Music,[further explanation needed] and the Country Music Association.[further explanation needed] The album was as much a commercial success as a critical one and has sold over seven million copies according to the Recording Industry Association of America.[citation needed]

documentary filmDown from the Mountain, was made of a benefit concert of the soundtrack performed by the artists on the album; Burnett figures prominently in the film. For producing the soundtrack albums for these two films, and for his wife Sam Phillips' Fan Dance album, Burnett won the 2002 Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Burnett went on to produce the less popular gospelsoundtrack to the Coen's The Ladykillers.

In 2004, under his name "Henry Burnett", he arranged "I Wish My Baby Was Born" and wrote "Like a Songbird That Has Fallen", and "Scarlet Tide" for the movie Cold Mountain. "Scarlet Tide", co-written with Elvis Costello and performed by Alison Krauss, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song and won BAFTA's Anthony Asquith Award for Achievement in Film Music.

In 2005, he composed the score for Wim Wenders' film Don't Come Knocking.

In 2005, he worked with actors Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon for their singing roles as Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in the film Walk the Line. Witherspoon won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the film, giving special thanks to Burnett in her speech for "helping her realize her lifelong dream of being a country music singer". He also produced that film's soundtrack album and wrote its score.

In 2009, Burnett collaborated on music for the movie Crazy Heart, winning a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, and a Grammy Award for the song "The Weary Kind" that he composed with Ryan Bingham. T-Bone was also a producer of the film, along with Jeff Bridges and Robert Duvall.[14]

In 2013, he took the role of Executive Music Producer for the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis.

Awards and accolades[edit]Edit

Academy Awards[edit]Edit

On January 27, 2004, Burnett was nominated for an Academy Award, along with Elvis Costello in the category of Best Original Song for "Scarlet Tide" from the film, Cold Mountain. On March 7, 2010, Burnett and Ryan Bingham won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart.[citation needed]

BAFTA Anthony Asquith Award[edit]Edit

On January 26, 2010, Burnett and Crazy Heart collaborator Stephen Bruton received BAFTA's Anthony Asquith Award for Achievement in Film Music for their work on Cold Mountain.[citation needed]

Critics Choice Awards[edit]Edit

On January 15, 2010, Burnett and Ryan Bingham were awarded the prize for Best Song at the 15th annual Critics Choice Awards on Friday night. The awards are bestowed annually by the Broadcast Film Critics Association to honor the finest in cinematic achievement. Burnett and Bingham won the award for writing "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart.[citation needed]

Frederick Loewe Award[edit]Edit

On December 10, 2009, Burnett was presented with the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing, for his work on Crazy Heart, at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.[citation needed]

Golden Globe Awards[edit]Edit

On January 17, 2010, Burnett and Ryan Bingham were awarded a Golden Globe in the category of Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart. On December 13, 2012, Burnett, Taylor Swiftand John-Paul White and Joy Williams of The Civil Wars were nominated in the category of Best Original Song for "Safe And Sound" from The Hunger Games.[citation needed]

Grammy Awards[edit]Edit

On January 7, 1993, Burnett was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Contemporary Folk Album for The Criminal Under My Own Hat. On February 27, 2002, Burnett won four Grammys for his work on the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, in the categories of Album of the YearBest Traditional Folk Album and Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. He was also awarded the Grammy as Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, for his work on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, the Down from the Mountain soundtrack, and the albumFan Dance by his wife, Sam Phillips.[citation needed]

On February 23, 2003, Burnett won a Grammy in the category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for his work on A Wonderful World. On February 8, 2006, Burnett won a Grammy in the category of Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media, for his work on Walk the Line. On February 8, 2009, Burnett was awarded Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Folk Album for his work on the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album, Raising Sand; Record of the Year for his work on "Please Read the Letter", also from Raising Sand; and Best Traditional Blues Album for his work on B.B. King's One Kind Favor.[citation needed]

On December 2, 2009, Burnett was nominated for a Grammy in the categories of Best Contemporary Folk Album and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, for his work on Elvis Costello's Secret, Profane & Sugarcane.

On January 13, 2011, Burnett was awarded Grammys in the categories of Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media, for his work on Crazy Heart, and Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media, along with Stephen Bruton, for "The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)".

On December 5, 2012, Burnett was nominated twice in the Grammy category of Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media; with Win Butler & Régine Chassagne of Arcade Firefor the song "Abraham's Daughter", and with Taylor Swift, John-Paul White and Joy Williams (The Civil Wars) for "Safe and Sound", both from The Hunger Games.

Independent Spirit Awards[edit]Edit

On March 5, 2010, Burnett and fellow Crazy Heart producers Robert Duvall, Rob Carliner and Judy Cairo, along with director Scott Cooper, received Best First Feature honors at the 25th Annual Independent Spirit Awards.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award[edit]Edit

On January 16, 2010, Burnett and his longtime friend and collaborator on Crazy HeartStephen Bruton, were awarded Best Music Score honors for their work on that film by The Los Angeles Film Critics Association at their 35th Annual Awards Ceremony. Bruton died on May 9, 2009, shortly after completing work on the film.[citation needed]

Satellite Award[edit]Edit

On December 20, 2009, Burnett won a Satellite Award from the International Press Academy in the category of Original Song for writing "The Weary Kind", from Crazy Heart, with Ryan Bingham.

Artist discography[edit]Edit

Project Release Date
A Place at the Table Motion Picture soundtrack 2013
T-Bone Burnett Presents The Speaking Clock Revue Live From The Beacon Theatre 2011
Tooth of Crime 2008
Twenty Twenty – The Essential T-Bone Burnett 2006
The True False Identity 2006
The Criminal Under My Own Hat 1992
The Talking Animals 1987
T-Bone Burnett 1986
Behind the Trap Door (EP) 1984
Proof Through the Night 1983
Trap Door (EP) 1982
Truth Decay 1980
The B-52 Band & the Fabulous Skylarks 1972


Project Song Release Date
Until the End of the World Humans from Earth 1991
Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye - Tribute to Roky Erickson Nothing in Return 1990

Alpha Band discography[edit]Edit

Project Release Date
The Statue Makers of Hollywood 1978
Spark in the Dark 1977
Alpha Band 1976

Record production discography[edit]Edit

See also: List of albums produced by T-Bone Burnett

Project Artist Credit Release Date
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County Various Producer 06/04/2013
Glad Rag Doll Diana Krall Producer 10/04/2012
Storm & Grace Lisa Marie Presley Producer 5/15/2012
The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond Soundtrack Producer 03/20/2012
Voice of Ages The Chieftains Producer 2/21/2012
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive Steve Earle Producer 4/26/2011
Low Country Blues Gregg Allman Producer 1/18/2011
National Ransom Elvis Costello Producer, Songwriting 11/2/2010
The Union Elton John and Leon Russell Producer, Guitar, Songwriting 10/19/2010
The Secret Sisters The Secret Sisters Executive Producer 10/12/2010
Myth of the Heart Sahara Smith Producer 8/31/2010
Junky Star Ryan Bingham Producer 8/31/2010
No Better Than This John Mellencamp Producer 8/17/2010
We Walk This Road Robert Randolph & The Family Band Producer, Guitar, Songwriting 6/21/2010
Country Music Willie Nelson Producer 4/13/2010
Women and Country Jakob Dylan Producer 4/6/2010
Crazy Heart Soundtrack Producer 1/19/2010
The Diving Board Elton John Producer 9/24/2013 "(United States)
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane Elvis Costello Producer 6/2/2009
Moonalice Moonalice Producer 4/14/2009
One Kind Favor B.B. King Producer 8/26/2008
akiko Akiko Yano Producer 10/22/2008
Life, Death, Love and Freedom John Mellencamp Producer 7/15/2008
Still BoDeans Producer 3/4/2008
Raising Sand Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Producer 10/23/2007
Across the Universe Soundtrack Producer 9/14/2007
The Story Brandi Carlile Producer 4/3/2007
Thunderbird Cassandra Wilson Producer 4/4/2006
Walk the Line Soundtrack Producer 11/15/2005
Future Perfect Autolux Producer 10/26/2004
A Boot and a Shoe Sam Phillips Producer 4/27/2004
The Ladykillers Soundtrack Producer 3/23/2004
Ollabelle Ollabelle Producer 3/9/2004
Cold Mountain Soundtrack Producer 12/16/2003
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Soundtrack Producer 5/28/2002
Ralph Stanley Ralph Stanley Producer 6/11/2002
''A Wonderful World Tony Bennett and k.d. lang Producer 11/5/2002
Motherland Natalie Merchant Producer 11/13/2001
Fan Dance Sam Phillips Producer 7/31/2001
Down from the Mountain Soundtrack Producer 7/24/2001
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack Producer 12/5/2000
Come to Where I'm From Joseph Arthur Producer 4/11/2000
Blue Days Black Nights Freedy Johnston Producer, Optigan 7/20/1999
Songs from the Pipe The Surfers Producer 7/21/1998
Hell Among the Yearlings Gillian Welch Producer 7/28/1998
Horse Whisperer Soundtrack Producer 6/2/1998
Clay Pigeons Soundtrack Producer 9/22/1998
Ole' Tonio K Producer 12/23/1997 (recorded 1990)
David Poe David Poe Bass, Ukulele, Producer, Fuzz bass, Drones 9/23/1997
Omnipop (It's Only a Flesh Wound Lambchop) Sam Phillips Producer, Loops 8/20/1996
Stealing Beauty Soundtrack Producer 5/28/1996
Bringing Down the Horse Wallflowers Producer 5/21/1996
Revival Gillian Welch Producer 4/9/1996
Sweetie Daniel Tashian Guitar, Producer 3/26/1996
Braver Newer World Jimmie Dale Gilmore Guitar, Producer, Mixing 6/25/1996
Bringing on the Weather Jackopierce Producer 2/14/1995
Pretty Little Lonely Michael Petak Producer 8/16/1994
Martinis & Bikinis Sam Phillips Producer 3/8/1994
Dart to the Heart Bruce Cockburn Producer 3/1/1994
Go Slow Down BoDeans Producer, Engineer, Executive Producer 10/12/1993
August and Everything After Counting Crows Guitar, Producer 9/14/1993
A. J. Croce A. J. Croce Producer 5/25/1993
Everything You Want (Nothing That You Need) Seven Stories Producer 1993
Five Easy Pieces Dirty Looks Producer 11/10/1992
Lily Wendy Matthews Producer 9/28/1992
Break Like the Wind Spinal Tap Producer, Mixing 3/17/1992
Until the End of the World Soundtrack Vocals, Producer 12/10/1991
Cruel Inventions Sam Phillips Guitar, producer, Chamberlin 5/28/1991
Live Two Five Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Producer 7/16/1991
Nothing but a Burning Light Bruce Cockburn Producer 11/5/1991
Shuffletown Joe Henry Guitar, Percussion, Producer, Drums 8/31/1990
My Father's Face Leo Kottke Organ, Guitar, Producer 10/25/1990
Third World Warrior Kris Kristofferson Guitar, Arranger 3/6/1990
Mystery Girl Roy Orbison Guitar, Producer 2/1/1989
Spike Elvis Costello Guitar, Bass, Producer 2/14/1989
Black & White Night: Live Roy Orbison Guitar, Producer 10/23/1989
The Indescribable Wow Sam Phillips Guitar, Producer 8/9/1988
"Notes From The Lost Civilization" Tonio K Executive Producer, Guitar 1988
By the Light of the Moon Los Lobos Producer 7/7/1987
The Turning Leslie Phillips Guitar, Producer 1987
Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams BoDeans Guitar, Producer 5/1/1986
King of America The Costello Show Guitar, Producer 2/21/1986
Romeo Unchained Tonio K. Guitar, Drums, Producer 1986
Peter Case Peter Case Guitar, Producer 1986
Downtown Marshall Crenshaw Sitar, Producer 9/16/1985
How Will the Wolf Survive? Los Lobos Organ, Guitar, Producer 1/1/1984
Time Step Leo Kottke Producer 5/1/1983
Delbert & Glen Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark Producer 1972
Live at the New Bluebird Nightclub Robert Ealey and His Five Careless Lovers Producer 1970
The Legendary Stardust Cowboy The Legendary Stardust Cowboy Producer and Drums 1968
The Van Dykes The Van Dykes Producer 1966

Film and television discography[edit]Edit

Project Medium Credit Release Date
True Detective (TV series) Television Composer 2014
Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis Television Producer 2013 [15]
Inside Llewyn Davis Film Executive Music Producer 2013
Nashville Television Executive Music Producer 2012-2013[16]
The Hunger Games film score Film Executive Music Producer 03/26/2012
Tough Trade Television Executive Producer, Music Producer, Composer 2010
Crazy Heart Film Producer, Songwriter, Composer 12/19/2009
Across The Universe Film Music Producer 10/12/2007
All the King's Men Film Executive Music Producer 9/22/2006
Walk the Line Film Executive Music Producer, Composer 11/18/2005
Don't Come Knocking Film Executive Music Producer, Composer 8/25/2005
The Ladykillers Film Executive Music Producer 3/26/2004
Cold Mountain Film Executive Music Producer 12/25/2003
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Film Composer 6/7/2002
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Film Music Producer, Original Music 12/22/2000
The Big Lebowski Film Musical Archivist 3/6/1998
Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night TV Special Musical Director 1/3/1988
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