Home > CCM, Christian Music, Christian Pop, Christian Rock, Greatest Albums, Jesus Music > 127. Truth Decay – T-Bone Burnett

127. Truth Decay – T-Bone Burnett


T-Bone Burnett

The first release from T-Bone Burnett after the demise of the incredible Alpha Band proved the songwriting genius of T-Bone Burnett suffered no loss at the bands demise. Fresh, current, original and utterly and completely T-Bone Burnett. The Alpha Band is not completely gone here as Steven soles, David Miner and David Mansfield all appear on the album with T-Bone.

I have worked in the Christian music arena since the late 1970’s and have never been starstruck when meeting artists. Even backstage at Anaheim Stadium meeting Bono and the Edge was exciting, but no stuttering or stammering conversations took place. But when Leslie Phillips released the Turning the store I was managing did an in-store appearance with her. She brought T-Bone Burnett with her in tow.

I completely lost it. I mean, seriously. the dude is T-Bone freakin Burnett!

I met him again a few years later at Anaheim Stadium at the same U2 concert where my wife and I were seated between then Sam Phillips with T-Bone on one side and Nick Cage and his date on the other side. I’m sure people around me had to wonder why I was more enthralled with the fact I was next to this tall lanky, Texan with an unfamiliar face.

It was with Truth Decay that i was first introduced to T-Bone Burnett. I went back to get the Alpha Band after discovering him through this great album. If I was to create a “Best Of” project it would include nearly every song from this album and a few songs from his others. Every song here rang true with great country and blues driven guitar and Burnett’s nasally and caustic vocals. It was my introduction to “roots rock” and I was sold!

The album possesses a wonderful combination of bluesy rockers and stark, introspective ballads. The lyrics are as caustic, raw and emotive as the music. Relationships, selfishness, materialism and faith all are explored here with precision and honesty. One song to note is “Power of Love,” which would later be covered impressively by Mark Heard.

Quicksand, Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk, and Boomerang are all major standouts on a record filled with. the latter is simply brilliant! I could never prove it but I have always been convinced that Gene Eugene was influenced by the melody and vocals found here on Madison Avenue.

This is an obvious AYSO like the rest of T-Bone’s catalog. Very few artists have even scratched the surface of the brilliance of Burnett. His accolades run a mile long and his production credits have earned him Grammy and even Oscar’s, but it is with his wonderful, simply solo projects that the genius truly is exposed.


  1. March 6, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Indeed this is a great album! “The Power Of Love” is a masterpiece, and “Boomerang” could have been written and performed by mid-60’s era Bob Dylan!

    Both this and Burnett’s 1983 masterpiece “Proof Through The Night” make my list of ‘finest thinking man’s rock albums of the 1980’s’!

  2. Brett C
    March 7, 2011 at 2:42 am

    You can’t leave out “Trap Door” which came between “Truth Decay” and “Proof Through The Night”. It’s only an EP, but every single song on it is a cracker. It’s a true classic that sometimes gets overlooked.

  3. March 7, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Good point Brett! “Trap Door” is a classic! T-Bone’s cover of “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” is plain catchy, “I Wish You Could Have Seen Her Dance” should have been a top 10 radio hit, and the title track is just simply darn good songwriting!!

  4. Shawn McLaughlin
    March 8, 2011 at 2:50 am

    It is amazing how much this album makes me think of Mark Heard as well and not just because Heard covered “Power of Love”. There is, at times, an uncanny vocal resemblance. Of course, they are also brilliant writers. I got to see T-Bone perform live in “83, just before my 20th birthday, at the 5th Avenue Tavern here in Olympia WA. I had a full beard since I was about 15 so I had no problem getting in. Never did screw up the courage to talk to him, but that was a perfect venue for him and it was shortly after Trap Door was released and a little before Proof Through the Night.

  5. sharon isberner
    March 19, 2011 at 3:15 am

    What ever happened to T-Bone and Leslie Phillips??

  6. sharon isberner
    March 19, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Weren’t T-Bone and Leslie Phillips married.. What happened..and why did she leave Christian music.

    • Shawn McLaughlin
      May 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      A Google search will help you find articles that explain Leslie/Sam’s exit from the CCM industry much better than I could. Simply, she could no longer accept the artistic ceiling the business put on her art. But there is so much more to it than just that.

      T-Bone left Sam for Producer/Screenwriter, Callie Khouri. Not his finest moment.

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