T Bone Burnett, Jay Bellerose, Keefus Ciancia – The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space

tboneYou know T Bone, he’s the fucking man. What?! Fuck off, of course you know T Bone. Dude’s got 13 Grammy’s slung somewhere in his garage, probably next to a gargoyle-turned-BBQ set. He set up the soundtracks, “O Brother, Where Are Thou?”, “Walk the Line”, “The Big Lebowski”, and that first bad ass season of “True Detective”. If there’s a soundtrack that feels like dirt but touches heaven, that’s T Bone. The dude oozes Texas-psychedelia. If you have a scene where a wrinkled old whore spits in your palm, takes a hard drag of a home-packed cigarette, adds that ash to the gob, and stirs that shit with the tip of her painted nail in order to tell your fortune, T Bone better be providing that soundtrack. His style is so thick and heavy it’s one of the main fucking characters. Take away the music from any of those three movies mentioned above and the art of them falls apart. The music is their goddamn glue. This guy not only re-popularized Roy Orbison, he also started the careers of Sam Phillips, Counting Crows, and Gillian Welch. His kingdom sits between Tom Waits and David Lynch. And he rules that shit like a man that learned to possess the devil and won’t let the motherfucker go, no matter how much that dirty red bitch begs. Like I said, you know T Bone. He’s the fucking man.

T Bone hasn’t made music under his name for eleven years. He’s now decided to make a trilogy. This is part one of that motherfucker. Alongside the keyboardist Keefus Ciancia and drummer Jay Bellerose, T. Bone speaks/sings lyrical incantations on top of morphined percussion and chords that move like fog through a forgotten dream. T Bone uses a lot of biblical allusions in these lyrics. Time to dust off that old testament. T Bone doesn’t use this imagery like some gaudy television preacher, he uses it like a gravel-voiced laicized priest turned to drink and monologuing about Camus’s Sisyphus as he cradles a loaded side-by-side 12 gauge like an injured kitten.

The album’s called “The Invisible Light” because T. S. Eliot refers to divinity like that in the poem “Choruses From ‘The Rock’”. These lyrics are a part of a 5000-line poem that T Bone continues to write every day at the crack of 4 a.m., the witching hour. The man is an institution to what music has become. I’ve had this album on loop all day. I’m a fucking addict. Each time it comes back on, I pick up more of its message. The layers run deep. Lines like, “I had thought the world would have been further along by now’, and themes of disillusionment with the modern world run throughout it like roots of a poisoned tree. It doesn’t preach. It doesn’t yell. It smiles like a nefarious masochist slowly plunging a knife another quarter inch deeper. At the heart of this album is a dark optimism. This is a grimy, dirty, drug-fuelled, nightmarish, sex dream of an album and each black drop is better than the last.


 

 

 

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