Nowadays, it's perversely spelled "T Bone", sans hyphen. Who knows why? (Does Time Warner own the rights to his hyphen? I wouldn't be surprised). Who cares? Who is he?

Joseph Henry Burnett. Roots rocker of long pedigree. Singer, songwriter, producer, laughing curmudgeon, from Fort Worth, Texas. Now based in Los Angeles, and there was some time spent in Nashville, IIRC. He is Jet-Set Boy. Husband of Sam Phillips (no, not the Sun Records guy, AFAIK).

Burnett's career goes back to the mid-60s in Texas, part of the Southwestern strain of garage psychedelia - he stumbled upon The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, helping record his classic (?) "Paralyzed" in 1968, and was in The Loose Ends (et al) before that. He gained his first big non-psycho fame as a guitarist in Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue, and, with Steven Soles and David Mansfield from that tour, he formed the Alpha Band (as in "I am the Alpha and the Omega" from Revelations, I think) - the Alpha guys were probably part of the midwifery that gave us the stern Jesus Freak Dylan of Slow Train Coming.

T hyphen Bone went solo in 1980 with the Truth Decay LP; later works include Trap Door and The Criminal Under My Own Hat. Some of his work combines his Christian beliefs with anti-establishment social commentary, wrapped neatly, sometimes, with a sense of humor, with songs like "Hefner and Disney" functioning like a stealth moral teach-in from a singing stand-up comic floating a trippy bedtime story.

Collaborators over the years include The Missus (of course; his style rubbed off on her, rescuing Sam from a career in Contemporary Christian Music - the horror! - when she was known as Leslie Phillips), Pete Townshend, the Bono (/me grudgingly genuflects, to himself's great pleasure), Bruce Cockburn, Tonio K, Richard Thompson, Los Lobos, the Coen Brothers, and Howard Coward, better known as Elvis Costello.

More T hyphen Bone: "The Murder Weapon", T-Bone Burnett in Sojourners.

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