T Bone Burnett likes to keep his listeners off balance, as his first album of new material in 14 years attests. As a producer, Burnett has been responsible for the commercial breakthrough of emerging bands (Counting Crows, the Wallflowers) and the renewal of venerable artists (Ralph Stanley, Tony Bennett), but mainly he's been renowned for the rootsy Americana he brought to the soundtracks for O Brother, Where Art Thou?
and Walk the Line
. Here, Burnett extends his musical range across a wide expanse--from tracks that mix the percussive throb of reggae dub with the angular clang of a Tom Waits album ("Zombieland") and spiritual rants on the nature of sin over a heavy metal-blues guitar ("Blinded by the Darkness") to the comparative lilt of a Caribbean rhythm ("Hollywood Mecca of the Movies") and a couple of numbers that suggest the mysterious atmospherics of film noir ("There Would Be Hell to Pay," the politically conscious "Fear Country"). Even when a country tune, "I'm Going on a Long Journey Never to Return," finds him in more comfortable musical territory, the fatal dread of the lyrics belies the warmth of the music. The band--featuring guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Jim Keltner, long Burnett's instrumental accomplices--sounds capable of taking this music wherever he envisions. It's as if Burnett wields music as a weapon against complacency: his own, the listeners', the culture's. Though this is rarely easy-listening music, the results are never less than challenging. --Don McLeese
More from T Bone Burnett
Hot off the heels of being the chief music producer for "Walk The Line," "O Brother, Where Art Thou," amd "Cold Mountain," T Bone Burnett's highly anticipated record marks the first new music from him in 14 years. Featuring 12 compelling tracks, The True False Identity is destined to be another treasured record from one of music's greatest legends. The DualDisc version features intimate live music and spoken word performances by T Bone, making the first time T Bone has performed his own material on camera in more than 15 years.