Born Joseph Henry Burnett III but the world knows this guitarist, record producer, singer / songwriter as the legendary T Bone Burnett. Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, he would often fawn over his parents’ collection of 78 RPM phonographs which included the likes of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald and would also listen to The Beatles and Johnny Cash on the radio. One of his close friends’ father was a jazz drummer who owned his own music store. It was around this time that his love for Jazz and Bluegrass really blossomed, and he inevitably picked up the guitar for the first time. After pursuing a career in A&R, the acclaimed musician began to follow his own performative path in LA. Although he began releasing his own music, T Bone is best known for his time performing electric guitar and piano for Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue from 1975-1976. His music career has spanned half a century with a solo discography dating back to 1972 and has produced albums for the greats including Elton John, Elvis Costello and the Counting Crows. Burnett has 13 Grammy Awards including one for “Best Song Written For Visual Media” for “Safe and Sound” from the Hunger Games soundtrack as well as many others including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award.
In 2022, Burnett teamed up with well known session percussionist Jay Bellerose (Elton John, Robert Plant) as well as long time friend and creative collaborator / composer Keefus Ciancia (The Hunger Games, Spiderman 2) for the release of their second installment of The Invisible Light trilogy, titled “The Invisible Light: Spells”. The first installment “The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space” was met with critical praise with New York Times quoted as saying “Burnett speak-sings his way through free-associative songs that contain biblical allusions, echoes of the blues, tall tales, lovers’ plaints and warnings about disinformation, the cult of personality and the encroachments of technology”. Although the album isn’t set to release until August, the trio released a sneak peak at what masterpiece awaits fans this summer. On June 3rd, the musicians released the upcoming album’s lead-off track “Realities.com” along with a brilliantly provocative lyric video.
The trilogy is quoted as being “an experimental song cycle which explores the idea that society has been subject to a programming pandemic which is causing us to lose our ability to differentiate fact from fiction”. This newest single represents that statement perfectly, and any fans who watch the profound music video for “Realities.com” will find themselves questioning our modern technologically advanced lifestyle. The lyric video showcases incredible custom illustrations of a retro society and people living their everyday lives whether it be at work or at home raising their families; however, you quickly notice that not everything is what it seems. Instead of happy smiling faces, these people have televisions, radios and telephones for heads, some don’t even have heads at all! This imagery is powerful and can be considered reflective of today’s society and how we are what we see and hear. Our “self” now identifies with the words and narratives presented to us via the television, our phones and other media sources and we have lost all individuality.
This is further represented throughout the video, where fans can see typed out words appearing as shreds of newspaper in the background or scrolling across the television sets. These words are actually the song lyrics, which are seemingly meant to be written by “them” and are repeatedly used to entice society over to their new “better” reality. One of my favorite lines reads “Here you will never hear anything that you would disagree with. We will read your dreams, we will write your themes, we will code your schemes, we will hear your screams”. The video uses a monochromatic color scheme which pairs beautifully over top of the 1950s /1960s era illustrations. The attention to detail is outstanding, from the old transistor radios to the vintage RCA television sets, these visuals represent the artists’ vision for this track perfectly. After watching this lyric video, I think we all might need to make a point of disconnecting every once and awhile and enjoy our true reality.
Stay tuned for the official album release for “The Invisible Light: Spells” which is scheduled for August 5th. You can also follow T Bone Burnett across all social media and music streaming platforms.
Watch the lyric video for “Realities.com” on T Bone Burnett’s Official YouTube Channel Here: