T-Bone Burnett on "Walk the Line," Cassandra Wilson, producing, and his new album

Yahoo posts a T-Bone Burnett interview.

In it, Burnett says, “I’m trying not to produce records anymore.”

This is what he told my friend Martin and me more than a decade ago during an interview. We’ll see if he starts trying harder, considering he’s done nothing but produce music since that conversation.

In response to his answer, Yahoo asks, “Why not?” And he offers almost exactly the same reply:
“The best job in show business is to be a free-standing artist–to have your own schedule. When you’re producing, you’re not allowed to set your own calendar to the same degree. I love the studio, and I love making music, but being a professional record producer, unless you’re someone like Dr. Dre, is a tough job. I’m mildly interested in continuing to produce if it’s the right situation. But now it’s my default position.”

And regarding the new album: “This is a comedy record. All the songs are comedies. I hope they resonate that way. I don’t know if they’re funny because that’s an essential ingredient to comedy. If they’re not funny, well, I don’t know … we’ll see.”

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • Ellen Collison

    After hearing long samples on the Blue Note website, well… I think the programmed beats were a huge mistake. I’d much rather hear her with her regular working combo.

    Some of what I’ve heard makes me think that Wilson is going after a broader market, a la Lizz Wright and several other young singers who are working more in a soul-jazz vein.

  • Ellen Collison

    Interesting that the Yahoo article says that Cassandra Wilson’s new album is “groundbreaking” – but there’s no further information. Based on things I’ve seen re. the track list, it looks like it’s very much in the mold of the albums she’s been amking since Blue Light til Dawn, which came out in 1993. (That’s just an observation on her work, not a criticism – though I would like to see her change gears, for one album at least.)

  • Andy Whitman

    If T Bone’s new album “The True False Identity” is comedy, then “Schindler’s List” is slapstick.

  • Matt Page

    T-Bone Burnett is playing Greenbelt this summer. New baby -schnew baby we’re going.