Country Guitarist Stephen Bruton Dies at 60
Stephen Bruton, the guitarist and songwriter who played with country singer Kris Kristofferson for four decades, died on Saturday from complications of throat cancer at the home of producer/musician T-Bone Burnett. Bruton, whose songs were recorded by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett, was 60.
"I've been crying all day and never thought I'd get through this show," Bonnie Raitt told an Austin audience Sunday night, before playing one of Bruton's finest numbers, 'Too Many Memories.' Raitt told the crowd that Bruton -- who had once been a member of her band -- used to try to make her laugh during performances, so she would often avoid making eye contact with him.
According to a statement from Burnett, Bruton, who recently finished producing the music for a movie he was working on called 'Crazy Heart,' "fought like a lion until the last moment."
"I'm deeply grateful he got to complete his work on the film," Burnett added. "In the last 72 hours, things just started shutting down. I think everybody thought he would kick it quickly because he was Stephen Bruton. We all thought he was invincible."
Bruton was a Texas-reared musical prodigy, who won banjo contests before he was a teen. He ultimately shifted his focus to country and blues. Soon after his graduation from Texas Christian University, Bruton joined Kristofferson's band in 1972, then went on to work with many other notable musicians, including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Carly Simon. Bruton also released five solo albums and acted in films such as 'Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid' and 'Miss Congeniality.'
A funeral for Bruton will be held in Fort Worth, Texas. He is survived by his wife, Mary Keating-Bruton.