New in paperback is Lloyd Sachs’ acclaimed biography, T Bone Burnett: A Life in Pursuit.
A revealing inside look at the brilliant producer’s work with Los Lobos, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elton John and Counting Crows – and the making of his bestselling soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou.
Just in time for Americanafest, here is the paperback edition of Lloyd Sachs’ T Bone Burnett: A Life in Pursuit. The first critical appreciation of Burnett, the book reveals how the driving force behind the Americana movement and the producer of a Who’s Who of great artists has profoundly influenced American music and culture. “A definitive portrait,” declared MOJO. “A much-needed critical biography of an influential artist by a superior critic of the genre,” proclaimed Liberary Journal in a starred review.
Renowned as a studio maven with a Midas touch, Burnett is known for lifting artists to their greatest heights, as he did with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss via their multiple Grammy-winning recording Raising Sand and the Bodeans via Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams.
Burnett virtually invented “Americana” with his hugely successful roots-based soundtrack for the Coen Brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which sold more than eight million albums.
Outspoken in his contempt for the profit-fixated entertainment industry, Burnett has nevertheless received many of its highest honors, including Grammy Awards and an Academy Award.
Sachs highlights all the important aspects of Burnett’s musical pursuits including his early days as a member of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, his founding of the Alpha Band and his own acclaimed efforts as a singer-songwriter, including Truth Decay and The Criminal Under His Own Hat. Sachs examines Burnett’s collaborations with the great playwright Sam Shepard, U2 and blues legend Willie Dixon and his musical contributions to lauded TV shows such as Nashville and True Detective.
And then there is Burnett’s passionate advocacy for analog sound (spoiler alert: he loathes the MP3 format). Going well beyond the labels “legendary” or “visionary” that usually accompany his name, T Bone Burnett: A Life in Pursuit reveals how this consummate music maker has exerted a powerful influence on American music and culture across four decades.
The author of American Country: Bluegrass, Honky-Tonk and Crossover Sounds, Sachs has written about pop music and jazz for myriad publications including Rolling Stone, DownBeat, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. He was a longtime music columnist and award-winning editorial writer at the Chicago Sun-Times and a senior editor at No Depression, the prized “alt-country” magazine.
From the book: “T Bone Burnett now carries such weight in the entertainment capitals of Hollywood and Nashville that the title ‘record producer’ can contain him no more than ‘film director’ could contain Orson Welles. His O Brother soundtrack altered the landscape of American music so markedly that it may well have affected our culture as significantly as Citizen Kane did. From his own critically acclaimed work as a singer and songwriter to his close associations with Bob Dylan and Sam Shepard—one of the greatest songwriters of our time and one of the greatest playwrights — to his outspoken efforts to overhaul digital recorded sound, Burnett’s accomplishments have made the musician-producer one of the most significant figures in popular culture during the past forty years.”