We gave it an A+
For nearly 20 years, guitarist-songwriter T Bone Burnett has been one of rock’s unsung heroes: a player’s player (charter member of Bob Dylan’s mid-’70s Rolling Thunder Revue, musical director of Roy Orbison’s transcendent 1988 cable-cast), a producer’s producer (Elvis Costello and Los Lobos), and an artist’s artist. (His 1980 Truth Decay defined new-wave integrity, and 1986’s T Bone Burnett was a model of new traditionalist country authenticity.) Let’s hope The Criminal Under My Own Hat, his exceptional new album, will make him more than just an alternative household name. Burnett’s highly moralistic, deeply religious compositions — especially the intimate, disarming acoustic tracks — tilt nobly at the windmills of human weakness, both global and personal. Of such honest, cathartic communications are masterpieces made.