Stephen Bruton, the Texas-based guitarist and vocalist renowned for his work with Kris Kristofferson, Alejandro Escovedo and many others, died Saturday (May 9) at age 60 due to complications from throat cancer. Bruton was working in Los Angeles with T. Bone Burnett on the film “Crazy Heart,” where he was acting as music producer and composer.
Bruton’s music dates back to the Seventies: his first break would come in 1972 when he contributed guitars and vocals to Kris Kristofferson’s “Border Lord” album. Bruton would go on to be a long time collaborator with Kristofferson, including his forthcoming record “Starlight and Stone.”
Other highlights of his nearly forty year career include guitar contributions and production credits on Carly Simon’s 1976 release “Another Passenger,” Bonnie Raitt’s mega-selling “Luck of the Draw” and numerous albums with Texas based singer-songwriter, Alejandro Escovedo.
Bruton’s songs were covered by a wide range of artists, including Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Patty Loveless.
In addition to music, Bruton had acting roles in a number of films, including “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” “Heaven’s Gate,” “A Star is Born,” “Miss Congeniality” and “The Alamo.”
“”Stephen Bruton was the soul of Texas music,” said T.Bone Burnett said in a released statement. “This is an incalculable loss. He was my oldest friend and I loved him like a brother. I learned more from him than I can say.”
Speaking with the Austin-American Statesman, Kristofferson added “He finally knew he was going, after fighting it so hard for so long. I said I would see him again down the road, probably sooner than later.”
A recording artist himself, Bruton released five solo records, with “What It Is” debuting in 1993. His latest release was 2005’s “From The Five.”
The funeral will be held in Fort Worth, Texas.