Friday, October 3, 2008

Robert Plant honors T Bone Burnett as Raising Sand receives award for sound

T Bone Burnett was honored twice today at the 24th Annual Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards.

First, he was inducted into the TECnology Hall of Fame following a poetic speech by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss that was sure to make his cheeks blush.

Later, their Raising Sand album, which Burnett produced, won its bid for an award in the category of Record Production/Album.

Sharing in the award for Raising Sand are all the people who worked on the recording in Nashville and Los Angeles:

Recording Engineers: Stacy Parrish, Mike Piersante, Jason Wormer
Mixing Engineer: Mike Piersante
Producer: T-Bone Burnett
Mastering Engineer: Gavin Lurssen

To induct Burnett, Plant and Krauss provided their flattering words about the man who produced their album and has continued to guide their onstage collaboration.

Plant and Krauss approached their shared podium to the tune of the house band's instrumental "Rich Woman," the opening track of their album and each one of their concerts. Then they spoke:
Plant: "Thank you. T Bone Burnett is excited and surprised. His eyes blink in feigned revelation. His head jerks, and a roar of healing laughter ricochets through the backstage corridors of the world we've come to share. T Bone Burnett is a crazy, glorious hybrid: part Fort Worth frat rocker, part sidekick to the Minnesota Judas. A teller of tales often as tall as the mountains, which yielded up their almost lost treasures to soundtrack and sidetrack. The teller of tales who recently led the great B.B. King back to his original mojo, back to his seminal how and why, back to Blind Lemon, Lightnin' Hopkins and Charlie Patton, to induce performances hardly imaginable in today's celebrity-sodden recording sessions for our senior heroes. The teller of tales who delicately wove the gifts of the bluegrass princess with the prince from the misty mountains --"

[Audience laughs and claps.]

Plant: "Hold it -- dressed in a long robe and playing a re
d toy piano."

Krauss: "T Bone Burnett is restless and questing, a whirlwind of profound opinions of social responsibility, frustrated and angered by his country's political corruption and blind mismanagement."

[Audiences cheers.]

Krauss: "And T Bone Burnett is almost always, always there for almost everyone."

[Audience laughs.]

Krauss: "Tonight, his music, a salute to his years of eager learning and to passion and detail, salute to his recall and experien

Plant: "Salute to the library of congress installed neatly between his ears. Salute to his microphone placement."

[Audience laughs.]

Plant: "Salute to his manmade management and riotous assemblies. To his Blue Glow and his Grey Goose."

[Audience laughs.]

Krauss: "Salute to his remarkable conviction. Who else could convince me to sing songs beginning with, 'Once I had myself a good woman'?"

[Audience laughs and claps.]

Krauss: "Thank you."

Plant: "Forget gender; think art! And to his own provocative and beautiful music, which constantly asks questions framed and draped by his dark, compelling soundscapes. And, you know, music with all its rewards, joys and frustrations is just a fraction of what's going on behind those two eyes up there."

Krauss: "I am never happier than when I sing for T Bone Burnett. I'm delighted by his choices, his process, and then what appears after he's called his invisible shots."

Plant: "For me, T Bone is the last train home, the one you'd given up upon, the one you thought you'd missed forever, the last connection to all the golden inspiration that led me to this room tonight. T Bone!"

[Audience bursts into appla
use, and the house band plays the presenters off.]

Burnett also addressed those gathered at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, saying the honor "came completely out of left field for me."

The award for Raising Sand prompted more words from Burnett and then even more from Plant, who appeared eager to step up and command any microphone as soon as he politely could.

That's when he alluded to his first tour of America, back in 1968 and 1969, when he was singing for Led Zeppelin. It was less than two weeks into 1969 that the band performed at San Francisco's Fillmore West for the first time.

"Somebody mentioned the Fillmore in 1968 [sic]," said Plant, to the crowd's amusement.
"There were no monitors, no plug-ins, none of this s---. I don't know how you can justify being here. You have no right! What happened to the human voice? Go out and get yourself a box set called Dust to Digital. Check it out.

"But on a serious note, of course, you're all very important -- I've only just become American, so I'm [just] learning this bulls---, you know. I'm gonna be a maverick when I grow up!

"After me and Alison made this speech, I started drinking, but I can't tell you.

"Seriously, Alison and these guys
[Burnett and the mixing and mastering engineers present], they're -- you know, Alison said, 'You'll like 'em.' And I was frightened by them. Mike [Piersante], you know, he sat through all the Grey Goose and the Blue Glow and all the cellphones for weeks and me getting twitchy. And these guys are spectacular -- Gavin [Lurssen], T Bone, everybody. I mean, I'm so pleased to be Mid-Atlantic."

About the TEC awards:

Founded in 1985, the Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards is the foremost program recognizing the achievements of audio professionals. Presented annually by the Mix Foundation for Excellence in Audio, the TEC Awards honor the individuals, companies and technical innovations behind the sound of recordings, films, TV shows and live performances.

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