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Stephen Bruton

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Stephen Bruton (1948-2009) died of complications of throat cancer in Los Angeles on May 9, 2009, aged 60. Bruton worked with such artists and musicians as NRBQ, T Bone Burnett, Bonnie Raitt, Rita Coolidge, Christine McVie, Elvis Costello, Delbert McClinton, Sonny Landreth and Carly Simon. He produced albums for Alejandro Escovedo, Marcia Ball, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Hal Ketchum, Storyville, Kris Kristofferson and Chris Smither.

If a stranger asks Stephen Bruton what he does for a living, “I’m a guitar player” is the simple answer. But if Bruton were to ask the same question of himself, the response would be another question: “Whadda ya need?” That’s because Bruton is far more than just a guitar player par excellence. He is also a songwriter, singer, recording artist, record producer, actor, collaborator, and something of a raconteur and provocateur. One could dub him a renaissance man, but for Bruton it’s more just a matter of doing what needs to be done the best it can be done.

From The Five plays like a rocking night at a Texas roadhouse, albeit one where you come away with reflections on the state of the world and the hard-earned wisdom and lessons that life offers. “It’s not so much autobiographical as observations on where we are now,” explains Bruton. In between his opening thoughts on a higher power in the driving, bluesy rocker “Bigger Wheel” and the closing grace note of “In The Wind,” he looks at how we live today (“Walk By Faith” and “The Clock”)

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