T Bone Burnett is a name that you may not recognize, even though I’m sure we’ve all heard something he has had a hand in creating. In the 14 years since his last album, Burnett has been busy working on movie soundtracks and producing other artists' albums. He has taken part in films such as Walk The Line, The Big Lebowski and has won a Grammy for his production of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
Not only involved with major motion pictures, Burnett has collaborated on projects with some major musicians including the Wallflowers, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison and Tony Bennett. He has also teamed with the Coen brothers to form their own indie record label, DMZ Records, which has so far released mostly soundtracks. Now T Bone has turned once again to his own music with a 40-track retrospective 20/20: The Essential T Bone Burnett and his new solo record The True False Identity.
T Bone's latest album has a dark, moody feel to it, which is a sound I’m drawn to like a moth to a flame. After a sample listen of “Zombieland,” I was hooked and had to hear the rest of the CD.
The 12 tracks on The True False Identity are divided into two parts, six each, kind of like some bands would do in the old days with their vinyl L.P.s. The first six fall under the title “Art Of The State”, the next six “Poems Of The Evening.” The mood from the first to the second half doesn’t change much at all and the lyrics still ring with social and political sting; Burnett’s lyrics are filled with creative wordplay, so you have to listen and bring your own interpretations to the table.
“Zombieland” gets this disk off to a good start. With its heavy upright bass and slow drum thump, T Bone’s guitar slips in and out though the background rhythm, which is soaked in a New Orleans/Haitian voodoo vibe, complete with maracas and other shake and rattle instruments. As a matter of fact, the whole album has that mysterious vibe throughout.