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T Bone Burnett is a Grammy Award-winning musician and producer who has worked on several popular films, including The Big Lebowski and Crazy Heart.
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Singer/songwriter and producer T Bone Burnett was born on January 14, 1948, in St. Louis, Missouri. He began making records in 1965 and later joined Bob Dylan to play guitar in his Rolling Thunder Revue tour. Burnett won multiple Grammy Awards and worked as a musical producer on several films, including The Big Lebowski and Crazy Heart.
"Almost everything the Beatles did was great, and it's hard to improve on. They were our Bach. The way to get around it may be to keep it as simple as possible."
"These country musicians would drink a lot of whiskey, take a lot of speed, and want to stay up all night. They'd need a place to do it, so they'd end up at my studio."
[On what it was like working at his recording studio in Forth Worth, Texas, in the 1960s.]
Singer/songwriter and producer T Bone Burnett was born Joseph Henry Burnett on January 14, 1948, in St. Louis, Missouri. At a young age, Burnett moved with his family to Fort Worth, Texas, where he would spend the rest of his childhood.
Surrounded by a confluence of music in his Texas hometown, including the blues and Tex-Mex, Burnett adopted an early love for all kinds of music. By the age of 14, he was making a second home for himself at a juke joint in Fort Worth, which hosted blues icons like B.B. King and Junior Parker.
Ever ambitious, Burnett was only 17 when he bought his own recording studio, which catered to both Forth Worth bands and visiting musicians. "These country musicians would drink a lot of whiskey, take a lot of speed, and want to stay up all night," he later recalled. "They'd need a place to do it, so they'd end up at my studio."
By the early 1970s, though, Burnett, intent on making it as a musician himself, had ditched Texas for a new life in Los Angeles. Through a friend, he met folk music legend Bob Dylan, and was invited to play guitar on Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour. The concerts helped to launch Burnett's career, and he soon formed his own group, the Alpha Band, with a few musicians he'd met on the tour. The group landed some early praise, but Burnett and his mates called it quits after three albums.
The 1980s proved to be a rocky era for Burnett's career as a musician. As a producer, though, there was demand for his work. He manned the helm for the production of popular records such as Los Lobos' How Will the Wolf Survive? and Elvis Costello's King of America (1986), among others.
Burnett first started doing movie work in 1999, when he collaborated with the Coen Brothers on their film, The Big Lebowski. From there, Burnett oversaw the production of a number of successful soundtracks, including another Coen Brothers hit, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2001). Additionally, Burnett produced soundtracks to several other films, including the Johnny Cash bio-epic, Walk The Line (2005), Across the Universe (2007) and Crazy Heart (2009).
A musician himself, Burnett has continued to stay active. In 2006, he released two albums: The True False Identity and Twenty Twenty—The Essential T Bone Burnett. As an award-winning producer, Burnett has garnered 12 Grammy Awards and been nominated for several Academy Awards.
Burnett married Christian pop singer Leslie Phillips in 1989, after helping her produce her critically acclaimed album The Turning. The two, now divorced, have one child together: a daughter named Simone, who was born in 1998.
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