Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Long before launching a recorded career as a singer/songwriter, Stephen Bruton had amassed a daunting résumé. He had served as a sideman/guitarist, songwriter, or producer for such industry notables as Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton, Bob Dylan, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Hal Ketchum, Christine McVie, T-Bone Burnett, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Patty Loveless, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Alejandro Escovedo. Bruton grew up in Ft. Worth, Texas, the son of a jazz musician and record-store owner. He got his first big break when Kris Kristofferson tapped him to fill a vacant band slot in the early '70s. After working with an impressive array of artists for over 20 years, Bruton released his first solo album in the early '90s. Later that decade, he signed to New West Records, the home of such Americana talent as Billy Joe Shaver, the Flatlanders, and Delbert McClinton. Bruton's fourth release, Spirit World, a mixture of blues, country, and rock & roll, came out in early 2002, followed in 2005 by From the Five. Sadly, Bruton died at age 60 from complications of throat cancer at the home of T-Bone Burnett in Los Angeles on May 9, 2009; Bruton and Burnett had been working together on the film Crazy Heart, an Academy Award-winning vehicle for actor Jeff Bridges. Bruton and Burnett co-wrote much of the music for the film, and Bridges' Bad Blake character was in fact inspired by Bruton. Bruton's death came shortly after he completed his work on Crazy Heart, and the film was dedicated to him.