Could T Bone Burnett’s New Solo Album, The Other Side, Be One of the Best Acoustic-Oriented LPs You’ll Spin This, Or Any Other, Year?

Joseph Henry Burnett III is not exactly a household name for most people these days, and that’s a shame. Under his T Bone Burnett sobriquet, he’s turned in a lifetime of work that has placed this legendary musician, composer, and producer in the crosshairs of the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Los Lobos, Sam Phillips, Roy Orbison, Brandi Carlisle, Grace Potter, Elton John, Leon Russell, Robert Plant, and Alison Krauss (to name more than a few).

And now, T Burn Burnett has just released a new solo LP on Verve Forecast on April 19, 2024 called The Other Side — and it’s one of the best albums we’ve heard so far this year on vinyl. After years of producing other artists, it’s great to hear Burnett is back with a beautiful recording that lifts off from his past work, but one that is distinctly a T Bone Burnett album, through and through.

Before we dive deeper into The Other Side, let’s continue to sift through T Bone’s impressive C.V. for additional artistic context. He’s made seminal records with important rock and pop artists of our times, such as Elvis Costello’s brilliant February 1986 Americana masterpiece on Columbia under the Costello Show umbrella, King of America. He produced Los Lobos’ original October 1984 major-label debut LP on Slash/Warner Bros, How Will The Wolf Survive?, as well as the March 1994 album by his then-wife Sam Phillips on Virgin, Martinis & Bikinis, which remains one of her best recordings ever (and is a personal favorite of this writer, in fact!).


Burnett is also responsible for the remarkable recordings by Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant and bluegrass star Alison Krauss, including their smash hit, Grammy-winning October 2007 2LP set on Zöe/Rounder, Raising Sand. Heck, he even produced December 2000’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack LP on Lost Highway, an album that won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2002. In our opinion, T Bone Burnett’s production legacy places him squarely among the pinnacle of the music producers of our modern times.

Burnett’s production career came out of hard times paying his dues as a working, touring musician. He was in the Alpha Band, a three-man collective formed out of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue — which he also participated in, circa 1975-76 — and they released several albums together in the mid/late 1970s. His solo career also includes 1983’s Proof Through the Night on Warner Bros., and 1988’s The Talking Animals, on Columbia (the latter of which is one of AP editor Mike Mettler’s personal favorites, or so I’ve been told).

Before we talk more about the merits of the new The Other Side LP, let’s look at some of the official perspective about the album as gleaned from T Bone’s official site: “Burnett delves deeply into the myriad genres of American Music, returning to his roots as a singer and songwriter. The love story at the center of the 12-song collection follows the journey of a couple that may no longer be of this plane. Co-produced by Colin Linden, Mike Piersante, and Burnett, the album features longtime friends Rosanne Cash and early bandmate Steven Soles, new collaborators Lucius and Weyes Blood, and trusted musical companions including Dennis Crouch, Stuart Duncan, Jay Bellerose, and Rory Hoffman. A deeply personal work, The Other Side features some of the richest vocals and most direct songs of the artist’s long career.“

The SRP for this single-disc LP is a very reasonable $25.99. My copy of the standard weight (140g) black vinyl LP has been dead-quiet and perfectly centered, so there are no problems apparent on that front. (A clear-vinyl edition is also available via T-Bone’s official site store for the same SRP.) While we don’t yet know for certain where this LP was pressed, European copies are sporting “Made in Germany” stickers on their back covers.

I am glad Burnett’s site mentioned his vocals, as it was a point I was initially planning on discussing later in this review. However, it is worth bringing up this point now, as T Bone’s voice today delivers the distinctive sound of a seasoned artist who has been there and back, as the saying goes. He’s someone who has seen it all and then some. That richness of perspective and awareness permeates the entire Other Side album.

This is a special development for me, as Burnett’s somewhat thinner voice as a younger man was admittedly an acquired taste, yet he always offered a certain special something in his delivery that was ultimately appealing. Now, as a senior music statesman, he brings with him an assured presence that can only be achieved over time, over the hard road of concert tours and club gigs and across never-ending recording sessions — as well as through the basic trials and tribulations of life all of us endure.

On his official site, Burnett talks about his vocal evolution in the context of other projects he’s been working on that led him to The Other Side: “‘I shifted from writing in my head to writing in my chest, and I shifted from singing in my head to singing in my chest because I realized my tone had been in service of this complete other drama that I was living in,’ he says. ‘But now that I had escaped the dystopia, a whole other world opened up to me and it was thrilling to just have a melody come out of a guitar. There were all these songs in these guitars. And they just came all at once, over probably a three-week period.’”

In many ways, The Other Side continues a musical trajectory that Burnett had been pursuing on behalf of and in conjunction with other artists all these years. This new set of songs is wonderful and memorable, with richly acoustic, blues-infused, country-inspired melodies that are impeccably recorded.


The first thing I noticed when putting on the standard vinyl LP was not only how hushed the recording was, but also how audibly present and noticeable the stereo soundstage appears. This is important if you are a fan of good sound like we all are here at AP Central — and it’s particularly timely, given that my review last week of Pearl Jam’s new Dark Matter LP on May 10 effectively represents a polar opposite of this production aesthetic. While the new Pearl Jam album sounds fairly one-dimensional, The Other Side is hyper-detailed, supremely warm, open, and utterly welcoming, delivering a beautiful sense of acoustic instruments being played in a studio environment. There is depth and separation here. (For further contrast/comparison, you can read my Dark Matter review here.)

One of the notable factors of Burnett’s production work with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on the aforementioned Raising Sand album was the use and presentation of earthy-sounding, vintage instrumentation. This is a gorgeous vibe Burnett learned how to capture for recordings, and a similar aesthetic is employed mightily here on The Other Side. Frankly, he could have easily had Plant and Krauss record these songs themselves, and it would have felt like an extension of their own work. (I mean this in the best possible way, mind you.)

As to the question of whether this is an analog or digital recording, we don’t really know at this point. Given the multitude of studios The Other Side was made in, there is a good likelihood some digital process was employed along the way. That said, as we have seen and heard previously from certain artists, if the engineers and producers know what they are doing — and can work in the medium with finesse — it is entirely possible to create fine-sounding recordings in and around the digital realm for maximum vinyl playback enjoyment.

Now, all this production nuance would be for naught if the music wasn’t any good — and, as we know, the audiophile world is certainly littered with beautifully recorded, technically great-sounding records that are musically boring and faceless. Fortunately for us, The Other Side is the work of a mature artist/producer who knows how to craft a good tune.


Some of my favorite moments on The Other Side so far include “(I’m Gonna Get Over This) Some Day” (Side A, Track 3), which features lovely harmony singing from Rosanne Cash. All tracks featuring the backing vocals from the indie quartet Lucius are also beautiful, including “The Town That Time Forgot” (Side B, Track 5) and “The Race Is Won” (Side A, Track 6). Listen for the deeply reverbed, amplified, and slightly distorted/overdriven acoustic guitar fingerpicking on “The Pain of Love” (Side A, Track 5) pitted against the crystal-clear harmonies of Lucius.

Also listen for the woody depth of the slack slide/Dobro guitar on “Hawaiian Blue Song” (Side B, Track 2) and how Stuart Duncan’s haunting violin lines come in toward the end, sounding like they are playing 30 feet away in a corner of the stage. (I’d like to think that perhaps they are instead perched atop a swaying palm tree on some faraway beach.)

It’s all about textures and subtlety here on The Other Side. The songs sound simple — but they are anything but that. As for our ratings, we give the Music a 9 and the Sound a 9 as well. The more we listen to this LP over time, either or both of those ratings numbers may see an uptick to 9.5 or even 10, because The Other Side is that good.

There is no doubt a lot of love and care which went into making this album. T Bone Burnett’s The Other Side is a compelling listening experience, start to finish. I can’t see any reason why fans of acoustic music, and “that sound” Burnett created for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, would want to hesitate on picking up this LP immediately, because The Other Side is part of that continuum. Right now, it’s one of our favorite new LPs of 2024, and we think you’ll find it to be one you’ll enjoy spinning again and again too.

Mark Smotroff is an avid vinyl collector who has also worked in marketing communications for decades. He has reviewed music for, among others, and you can see more of his impressive C.V. at LinkedIn.

Music Direct Buy It Now



1LP (Verve Forecast)

Side A
1. He Came Down
2. Come Back (When You Go Away)
3. (I’m Gonna Get Over This) Some Day
4. Waiting For You
5.The Pain Of Love
6. The Race Is Won

Side B
1. Sometimes I Wonder
2. Hawaiian Blue Song
3. The First Light Of Day
4. Everything And Nothing
5. The Town That Time Forgot
6. Little Darling


The Good Side: Above, T Bone Burnett, Mach 2024. Photo by Jason Myers.

eugeneharrington's picture

I am glad and feel vindicated to read such a wonderful review of this new album by T Bone Burnett. On the 21st April last, on my Facebook @vinyllpcare page, I wrote the following: -

"If you buy one album this year, get this one! The sound quality is superb and the songs which are of a folky and rustic nature recall times past. They convey a sense of wistful emotion in the listener. Optimal Media did a wonderful job on the pressing too which has the U.S. Stamper/mastering details in the dead wax, ergo the beautiful sound quality. This is demonstration quality sonically. The songs are really gorgeous and are beautifully played by the musicians. I will be playing this one a lot over the coming months and beyond".

I have liked J. Henry Burnett's work ever since I heard his 'Proof Through The Night' album back in 1983 or thereabouts. His subsequent albums have also found favour with me. T Bone is a very underrated artist and is known more for his stellar production work than for his solo musical output. I hope this new album puts that to right. It is a superb record on every level and parameter. If you want to hear how good your system is, buy this record and enjoy the high quality songs and recorded sound. Thank you Analog Planet for such a great review and the 'vindication' I feel that experts like yourselves concur with me.

Anton D's picture

You pretty much nailed it. So, I will just add my agreement!

Anton D's picture


This record is awesome and is managing to grow on us more and more with each listen.

(It's even great on Tidal while we sit outside.)

Chemguy's picture

...that in the recent issue of Uncut magazine, T-Bone indicates that the record was digitally recorded, IIRC.

The music is very good, and it sounds nice on Qobuz.

Glotz's picture

Along with his self-entitled album of folk and bluegrass music. His earlier lps are unique, addictive and quirky. The later Lps are well crafted and his sense of humor and God always shine through. He still looks cool as ever...

"We are humans from Earth..." Few understand human nature like T-Bone. EC's King of America is a huge album for me as is Wolf from Los Lobos. Seeing him on Roy's Black And White Night Live was also cool as hell.

I was struck to hear how well-crafted this album is. The songs are uniformly gorgeous and touching. I love the line about forgiveness and confessions. There are so many more T-Bone-isms on this album too. Great stuff.

I flirt with the LP but I have a new DAC and cables so it remains on Qobuz for me. And as I think about it.. how can I NOT have this album? Awww fudge. Thanks Mark. Fine review and very true about his voice and writing.

Glotz's picture

Plant / Krauss - Raise The Roof! What a top to bottom classic - sound AND music. Cannot wait to see them twice this summer.