If a stranger asks Stephen Bruton what he does for a living, “I’m a guitar player” is the simple answer. But if Bruton were to ask the same question of himself, the response would be another question: “Whadda ya need?” That’s because Bruton is far more than just a guitar player par excellence. He is also a songwriter, singer, recording artist, record producer, actor, collaborator, and something of a raconteur and provocateur. One could dub him a renaissance man, but for Bruton it’s more just a matter of doing what needs to be done the best it can be done.
Bruton’s most recent album, From The Five (released by New West in 2005), plays like a rocking night at a Texas roadhouse, albeit one where you come away with reflections on the state of the world and the hard-earned wisdom and lessons that life offers. “It’s not so much autobiographical as observations on where we are now,” explains Bruton. Bruton's sense of quality as well as his musical breadth is etched into the proverbial grooves of From The Five. After all, it's his fifth album, he wrote most of it at the age of 55, and it was released in 2005. The title comes from a bit of musicians’ slang: “Take it from the five,” the cue to start a song from the five chord rather than the one or root chord of the song’s key to give it a little twist. To wit, From The Five takes the rock, blues, country and R&B that is all found on Bruton’s musical palette and adds his own distinctive twists as well.