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T-Bone Burnett Remembers Stephen Bruton

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T-Bone Burnett Remembers Stephen Bruton

T-Bone Burnett Remembers Stephen Bruton

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Musician and songwriter Stephen Bruton played guitar for nearly 40 years with Kris Kristofferson, recorded five solo albums, and his songs have been covered by such greats as Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson.

(Soundbite of song "Getting Over You")

Mr. WILLIE NELSON (Musician): (Singing) Why do I still write? Why do I still call?

HANSEN: Stephen Bruton died of cancer on May 9th at the home of his longtime friend, music producer and songwriter T-Bone Burnett. Bruton was 60 years old. The two had just completed work on a soundtrack to the film "Crazy Heart," starring Jeff Bridges. T-Bone Burnett joins us from The Village studios in Los Angeles, California. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today.

Mr. T-BONE BURNETT (Music Producer, Songwriter): Thank you very much.

HANSEN: What's your fondest memory of Stephen?

Mr. BURNETT: My fondest memory? One night we were restless and he decided we were going to drive up to San Francisco. John Fleming, and he and I were in the car. And I woke up about four o'clock in the morning, I looked up and I said, where are we? And he said, we're just in southwestern Colorado.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BURNETT: He had decided to go see his girlfriend.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BURNETT: Without consulting us, you know.

HANSEN: Oh my. What did you mean when you said he was the soul of Texas music?

Mr. BURNETT: He immersed himself more deeply in the history of the place we came from, especially, you know, centered around Fort Worth. And he studied you know, Washington Phillips and Huddie Ledbetter. Like, I didn't know that Huddie Ledbetter had been a street singer in Fort Worth, but Stephen dug that up. He dug up the first electric guitar was made in Weatherford. Wasn't it Milton Brown and the Brownies? See, this is where I need Stephen right now. He would get this all straightened out for me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: He was the keeper of the history, huh?

Mr. BURNETT: Yeah. And he didn't look for the surface of the thing. He looked for where it came from, what it meant. You know, he kept breathing new life into these old classic forms of music.

HANSEN: Is there a song of his that we should go out on?

Mr. BURNETT: Yeah. I would say "Too Many Memories" would be the great way to go out.

(Soundbite of song "Too Many Memories")

Ms. PATTY LOVELESS (Musician): (Singing) Gave you a memory that you'll have till you die.

Mr. BURNETT: It has a great line in it - and the lesson you learn you must never forget. It's what makes you grow old. It's turning love into regret.

(Soundbite of song "Too Many Memories")

Ms. LOVELESS: (Singing) And you don't dare forget...

HANSEN: T-Bone Burnett joined us from The Village studio in Los Angeles, California. Thanks so much for sharing your memories of Stephen Bruton with us.

Mr. BURNETT: You're welcome, Liane. Thank you.

(Soundbite of song "Too Many Memories")

Ms. LOVELESS: (Singing) When there's too many memories for one heart to hold. Once a future so bright now seems so distant and cold. And the shadows grow long and your eyes look so old when there's too many memories...

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