An Incomplete History

The difference between producers Rick Rubin and T Bone Burnett.

Nov. 15, 1986 Brat-rappers the Beastie Boys release their breakthrough album, Licensed to Ill, produced by Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin. Nine million–plus albums later, it's a classic.

Sept. 14, 1993 Counting Crows release their debut, August & Everything After. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the glossy alt-rock record disrupts grunge's reign, selling more than 7 million copies.

May 21, 1996 The Wallflowers, featuring Bob Dylan's son Jakob, release their sophomore album, Bringing Down the Horse, produced by Burnett. The single "6th Avenue Heartache" includes backing vocals by Counting Crows' Adam Duritz, and their massive single, "One Headlight," earns a pair of Grammy awards.

2005 Artists releasing Rubin-produced records include Weezer, System of a Down, and Neil Diamond.

April 3, 2007 Ravensdale native Brandi Carlile releases The Story, her sophomore album, produced by Burnett. "T Bone is kind of a collaborator in the studio," says the poppy folkstress. "He's there in the studio with us working, playing guitars, singing songs."

October 23, 2007 Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant teams up with modern Americana diva Alison Krauss to release Raising Sand. The Burnett-produced album brings home Record of the Year honors at the 2009 Grammy Awards.

"[Burnett] has this incredible collection of Delta blues music that nobody has or owns." Carlile says. "What [Burnett] was doing was trying to select songs for the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss record while we were making The Story. We ended up listening to probably hundreds and hundreds of songs in the studio."

June 8, 2008 Wallflower Jakob Dylan releases his first solo album, Seeing Things, produced by Rubin. The sparse acoustic album is a departure from the Wallflowers' often heavily instrumentalized music. The album comes and goes with little notice.

October 6, 2009 Carlile releases her third record, Give Up the Ghost, produced by Rubin. "Everything's different," she says, comparing the two producers. "There are more differences than there are things in common."

April 6, 2010 Jakob Dylan reunites with Burnett for Woman and Country, the comparatively warmer and eclectic follow-up to Seeing Things. Burnett brings in some horns and strings, as well as Neko Case and her longtime backing vocalist, Kelly Hogan.

Present day Rubin is working with David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash on a CSN covers record. Asked about Rubin's role in the studio, Nash says, "He's working on three or four albums at the same time, he's talking to people constantly on his BlackBerry, but the moment that you do something where he goes, 'Can we try that a little slower,' just out of the corner of the room, he's engaged."

August 14, 2010 Jakob Dylan (with vocalist Hogan in support) joins Robert Randolph & the Family Band and The BoDeans for the Mountain Music Fest at Marymoor Park.

ckornelis@seattleweekly.com

 
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