This week in 2000, the soundtrack to the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? was released, several weeks before the movie. Though it would take some time, the music that accompanied the Coen brothers’ quirky characters and typically unusual story line would eventually sell over 7 million copies.
It was producer T-Bone Burnett who was tasked with gathering the music for the movie, a role he’s played for several films. He’s also played the role of award-winning, critically-acclaimed producer of to the stars, producing many albums that are now considered classics. Here are the Top 10 Albums Produced By T-Bone Burnett.
10. Greg Allman – Low Country Blues (2011):
David Fricke of Rolling Stone said Allman’s collaboration with Burnett “a tailor-made stretch (away from the Allman Brothers), to an earthy turmoil that feels like homecoming: a trip with the spirits that shaped his band’s sound and mission — B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Skip James, Otis Rush — with all of the healing that implies.
9. Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark – Delbert and Glen (1972):
When I reviewed this record a few years ago, I said: “When I first listened to this record, it struck me as a fun but not very deep record. With a few more passes, it reveals much more below the surface that one might think.”
8. Leo Kottke – Time Step (1983):
This Chryslais era Kottke set features Emmylou Harris and Albert Lee.
7. Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Braver Newer World (1996):
An adventurous album that found Burnett nudging Gilmore away from sounding like a Flatlander and closer to sounding like a Latin Playboy. Of this experimental endeavor, Stewart Mason of All Music said: “Braver Newer World places Gilmore’s characteristically spiritual lyrics in vivid musical settings that complement but never obscure his singular worldview and magnificent high lonesome voice.
6. Cassandra Wilson – Thunderbird (2006):
From her 1986 debut, Point of View, through her 2010 release, Silver Pony, Wilson has never stood still for long. With Burnett’s guidance keyboards and percussion became the palette on which Wilson painted her glorious vocals.
See the next five albums
5. Elvis Costello – King of America (1986):
One of several people to be credited as a producer on this record (including Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus himself), it was the fourth Costello album that included Burnett’s participation as player and producer.
4. Roy Orbison – Black and White Night Live (1989):
An All-Star night, one of the best rock concert films ever made.
3. Counting Crows – August and Everything After (1994):
As debut albums go, they don’t get much bigger than this, a Burnett production masterpiece.
2. Gillian Welch – Revival (1996):
There’s hardly a Gillian Welch record that’s not considered atop every yearly list, every genre list, every singer’s list; it only make sense it would also be considered one of Burnett’s best.
1. Los Lobos – How Will the Wolf Survive (1984):
The album that put the Lobos on the map. Mark Deming of AllMusic said that Brunett’s production shows “the band’s exemplary taste, musical smarts, and road-tested maturity in evidence on every cut.”