B.B. King, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Diana Krall, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Cassandra Wilson and now Lera Lynn. This divergent set of artists shares a common thread: St. Louis native and erstwhile touring guitarist for Bob Dylan, T. Bone Burnett.
Burnett, 67, served Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour, assembled his own rock trio early on, then went solo in the eighties, but he is best known these days—beyond producing albums for the artists named above (except Lynn) for his work in film. He was responsible for the soundtracks of “Oh, Brother How Art Thee,” “Crazy Heart,” “The Horse Whisperer,” “Across the Universe,” and “Cold Mountain,” among many others.
Now, he is at the musical helm for the second season of True Detective, and his work highlights newcomer Lera Lynn. She’s the chanteuse in the bar scenes but—more significantly—the artist performing the haunting “This is My Least Favorite Life.” She also performs “The Only Thing Worth Fighting For” in the trailer for the series. (Fans were disappointed when Leonard Cohen’s “Nevermind” got the nod for the opening credits instead of Lynn’s trailer tune).
Lynn, born in Texas, nurtured in Georgia, and based in Nashville, defies what one might expect from her background. Her Americana sound also reveals influences from jazz and pop. Her album, “The Avenues” debuted last year and was featured on NPR radio.
“Long before you figure out exactly what lyrics Lera Lynn is singing,” states Meredith Ochs of NPR’s All Things Considered and Sirius XM Outlaw Country DJ, “you’ll feel the melancholy and mystery in her music. Wistful melodies and the cry of a steel guitar are set to gentle, meditative rhythms. Even the song’s sonic spaces suggest loneliness. With the music alone, Lynn creates a tone poem of romantic uncertainty. “
T. Bone’s influences on Lynn’s music will be featured in future True Detective episodes. I like Lynn’s sound and what T. Bone has done with her. I look forward to hearing more from her.