Better known these days as the go-to guy for authentic roots movie music productions ( Walk the Line, Cold Mountain and the hugely successful O Brother soundtrack), T Bone Burnett has clearly drawn on his time as a Dylan sideman for this rare solo outing, with the disgruntled topical observations of tracks such as "Fear Country" and "Every Time I Feel the Shift" couched in parched, patinated blues settings that recall the ambience of Time Out of Mind or, at their surliest, the ramshackle shuffles of Tom Waits. Burnett's aim is true, too: like Neil Young, he's been fired up by political disgust, wondering, in "Palestine Texas", "What is this faith that you profess/that led to this colossal mess?", and offering in "Earlier Baghdad (The Bounce)" a weary mea culpa from a defeated perspective that could be either that of Saddam Hussein or a kidnapped hostage. Elsewhere, he objects in "Blinded By the Darkness" to the injection of the notion of sin into the American legal process, and offers a mordant, analogous comment on the self-delusion of "Hollywood Mecca of the Movies", warning that "we didn't build this place to last forever".
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