NEW YORK (Columbia Records) - T Bone Burnett will emerge from a 14-year hiatus as a recording artist to release The True False Identity - a collection of entirely new songs written and produced by T Bone - on May 16 on DMZ/Columbia Records. That same day, Legacy Recordings will release the 40-song, 2-disk Twenty Twenty - The Essential T Bone Burnett, the first-ever career retrospective from this quintessential American songwriter and musician.
The DualDisc version of The True False Identity features vidiosyncrasy, a 20-minute film created exclusively for this release. Directed by Jesse Dylan, vidiosyncrasy captures T Bone in a special solo performance of songs and spoken word.
The songs on The True False Identity are the opening of a whole new musical chapter in T Bone's career. According to T Bone, the aim of The True False Identity is to "erase the nonexistent line between comedy and tragedy." The True False Identity is divided into two sections of six songs each: Art of the State includes the songs "Zombieland," "Palestine Texas," "Seven Times Hotter Than Fire," "There Would Be Hell To Pay," "Every Time I Feel The Shift," and "I'm Going On A Long Journey Never To Return" while Poems of the Evening features the songs "Hollywood Mecca of the Movies," "Fear Country," "Baby Don't Say You Love Me," "Earlier Baghdad (The Bounce)," Blinded By The Darkness," and "Shaken Rattled And Rolled."
The songs that make up The True False Identity were conceived during a period of isolation in which T Bone wrote "about 200 pages of couplets and verses, all in longhand." He honed those pages into songs, entered the studio with a thoughtfully selected band of top-flight musicians -- including Jim Keltner, Marc Ribot, Jay Bellerose, Carla Azar, Dennis Crouch, Keefus Ciancia and Bill Maxwell -- and created the extraordinary music that propels the album. The unique percussive and rhythmic textures of The True False Identity are anchored by the use of three drummers on most of the album's tracks, and T Bone's production approach also utilized guitars, bass and keyboards as percussion instruments. "I wanted to put listeners in the middle of this new sound, to experience it almost in 3D," says T Bone.
The musical genesis of The True False Identity has its roots in the records T Bone and his musicians immersed themselves in while recording. Burnett acted as DJ for those sessions, spinning records and videos between takes. "We were listening to Bo Diddley, Howlin' Wolf, The Carter Family, and a lot of Haitian music," he says, "so the axis this music turns on is some kind of line drawn from New Orleans through Mississippi and Tennessee to Haiti."
A definitive overview of T Bone's recording career from 1976-1992, Twenty Twenty - The Essential T Bone Burnett includes songs dating back to the groundbreaking Alpha Band (the group formed in 1976 by T Bone, Steven Soles, and David Mansfield, fellow travelers in Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue); tracks from each of T Bone's solo albums; rarities including "The People's Limousine" (the single T Bone recorded with Elvis Costello as "The Coward Brothers"); and previously unreleased material.
Twenty Twenty - The Essential T Bone Burnett includes a revelatory song-by-song annotation written by T Bone Burnett and a fascinating new essay chronicling T Bone and his times penned by noted pop music critic and author Bill Flanagan.
Albums represented on Twenty Twenty - The Essential T Bone Burnett include The Alpha Band (Arista, 1976); Spark In The Dark (Arista, 1977); Truth Decay (Takoma, 1980); Trap Door (Warner Bros. EP, 1982); Proof Through The Night (Warner Bros., 1983); Behind The Trap Door (Demon EP, 1984); T-Bone Burnett (Dot, 1986); The Talking Animals (Columbia, 1988); and The Criminal Under My Own Hat (Columbia, 1992).
T Bone's 14 year hiatus from recording and performing paved the way for one of music's most multi-faceted and successful careers. His multitude of musical identities include: Grammy-winning producer (the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack, the Tony Bennett and k.d. lang album, A Wonderful World); Oscar-nominated songwriter ("The Scarlet Tide" from Cold Mountain); indie record label founder (DMZ Records); soundtrack composer/Executive Music Producer (Walk The Line, The Big Lebowski) and versatile studio wizard (Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, k.d. lang, Alison Krauss, Counting Crows, the Wallflowers, Sam Phillips, Gillian Welch, and Ralph Stanley).