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Stephen Bruton one of Austin’s best guitar players passes away

on May 9, 2009 No comments

5/9/2009
By: News 8 Austin Staff

Stephen Bruton passed away Saturday morning in Los Angeles after a long fight with cancer.
He leaves a legacy as both a singer and songwriter, but also a bit of a renaissance man in the music industry.

“He was a musician, a mentor, a gentleman, a producer, a true Texas gentleman,” News 8’s Music Correspondent Andy Langer said. “He was a guy who grew up in Fort Worth, grew up in a record shop and immediately recognized music as his calling.”

Bruton is regarded as one of Austin’s best guitarists and he played a role in a lot other local performers’ success as well.

The musician and music producer worked with artists like Alejandro Escovedo, Marcia Ball, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Hal Ketchum, Storyville, Chris Smither and Bonnie Raitt.

News 8’s Victor Diaz and Andy Langer have more on the legacy Bruton leaves behind.

Stephen and I met when I opened for Kris Kristofferson at the U. of M, Ann Arbor back in 1971. We bonded immediately and grew even closer over the years, hanging at gigs, in Woodstock, LA, Austin and on the road. He has always been one of my closest friends, in music and in sharing our personal lives. We partied together, got sober around the same time and it’s nearly impossible to imagine my life without him.

As a musician, he was one of the deepest, most intuitive, versatile and unique I’ve known. In both his songwriting, which stands alongside the best, and his incredible guitar playing. He truly was a musicians’ musician, vastly underrated but hugely influential to everyone lucky enough to call him friend. I also loved him singing his own songs. His legendary sense of humor, wit, loyalty and generosity as a friend have always been what’s so special about him as well. There’s no one I would rather get into mischief with, and I sometimes couldn’t even look over at him on stage without him cracking me up. He just brought me so much joy, as he did to everyone who knew or heard him. And we got each other through some of our darkest times, of which there have been many.

I will miss him and treasure his place in my heart and music every day of my life. I just hope I get to meet up with him again, and he’ll be playing with Lowell, Stevie Ray and all the others we lost way too soon.

— Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt Tour 2006
Bonnie Raitt Tour 2006
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Stephen Bruton Epiphany Interview by Elise Ballard

Stephen Bruton was a prolific songwriter, singer, recording artist, and Grammy-nominated record producer who worked and collaborated with Bonnie Raitt, Christine McVie, Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Costello, Carly Simon, Eric Clapton, Alejandro Escovedo, T. Bone Burnett and The Wallflowers among others. Notable artists that have recorded his songs include Raitt, Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Patty Loveless and Martina McBride. He was a founding member of the band The Resentments and has several solo albums out with the record label, New West. His last projects included the collaboration with Grammy-Award Winner, T. Bone Burnett, as a music producer and composer on the soundtrack for the Jeff Bridges’ movie, Crazy Heart (2010) and sessions for Kristofferson’s album “Starlight and Stone”.

“He would give to them, they would give back to him, and there was a lot of give and take there,” Langer said.

He was also a good a friend of Kris Kristofferson, the singer-songwriter who produced big hits such as “Me and Bobby McGee.”

Langer said Bruton spent 40 years, on and off, playing with Kristofferson. In fact, the last thing Bruton worked on was a Kristofferson record.

“He was just, genuinely, one of those guys who was a guitar player’s guitar player, a producer’s producer, a songwriter” Langer said. “He was genuinely, sort of, a last of breed; one of those guys who had his hand in a little bit of everything and was really good at everything he did.”

Bruton was also a regular Sunday night performer at the Saxon Pub with The Resentments.

He also had a lengthy film career with his most recent role in “Man Of The House” with Tommy Lee Jones.

He was 60 years old. Services for his memorial are still to be announced.

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Source: © Copyright Spectrum News
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