T-Bone Burnett is best known for his multi-Grammy winning work as a producer, working with Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, and Gillian Welch, as well as Rhiannon Giddens, Imelda May, and Los Lobos.
Soundtracks have also played a large role in his career. In 2000, the Coen Brothers recruited Burnett as musical director and producer for the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and more recently he produced and played on the soundtrack for The Hunger Games.
This in no way diminishes his recording career. Beginning in 1980, T-Bone Burnett released his first solo album, after recording three as a member of the Alpha Band, a group formed from Bob Dylan’s 75-76 touring band.
T-Bone Burnett traces his musical roots back through his parents’ 78″ collection, which was diverse and led him to bounce between genres. His childhood friend, the late musician Stephen Bruton, was also an influence through his father, a jazz drummer and record store owner.
After seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, Burnett began learning the guitar, playing with Bruton and writing his first song. Burnett got into session work, appearing on the novelty psychobilly hit Paralyzed in 1968.
In addition to his Grammy-winning music production work and his release of thirteen solo albums, Burnett is involved in Code, an audio format intended to bring studio quality sound to CDs and DVDs, and a real estate development in Nashville aimed at redeveloping a stadium site into a 21-acre mixed use community.