Sounding Off: “Jeff Bridges” – The Album
Jeff Bridges proved he is more than just a talented actor with his turn as Bad Blake in CRAZY HEART playing a down-on-his luck country musician with as much talent for song writing as hitting the bottle. With a slightly weathered voice, Bridges sounded like he was made to sing country music. Collaborating with producer T-Bone Burnett, Bridges breathed heart into each song he sang and transformed into Bad Blake before audience’s eyes. The performance won Bridges his first Oscar for Best Actor with the music he and Burnett created for the film receiving just as much praise. Bridges and Burnett have come back together, this time to collaborate on Bridges’ first full-length, self-titled album, Jeff Bridges.
It is always a tricky line when an actor crosses over into the world of music and vice versa, but with his award-winning performance as Bad Blake already under his belt, this transition feels like a natural one. Bridges is not only an actor he is also a painter, sculptor and photographer - the type of Renaissance man that seems to flow from one artistic medium to the next making this move to music almost expected. Bridges is not completely new to the music scene, having done a stint of touring with his band The Abiders, aptly named after his infamous role as The Dude in the Coen Brothers' THE BIG LEBOWSKI, but this is the first time he has released an album.
As a fan of Bridges' work, I am excited to hear what a full-length album of his original music will bring us. I was already an admirer of his work as an actor, but CRAZY HEART was the first time I had seen (and heard) Bridges sing and I was blown away. It will be interesting to hear what Bridges’ sound will be without the constraints of a story and character to play within, but teaming up with Burnett is certainly a good start. Bridges is noted as also having written a handful of the songs on the album (“Falling Short,” “Tumbling Vine,” I Will Wait” [co-written with Burnett and John Goodwin] and “Slow Boat” [co-written with Burnett and Thomas Cobb]) so this truly will be a sonic representation of Bridges, the person.
Looking over the track listing, it seems as though the album will indeed be an extension of the man himself particularly the final track, "The Quest," which almost sums up how Bridges seems to look at life - one long quest we are all on and trying to figure out together. Bridges is captivating when speaking about different subjects and ideas and this should translate well to lyrics and music.
Working with Burnett, plus his most notable music to date coming from CRAZY HEART, it is no surprise to see the album will probably have a country bent to it (not that there is a particular style of music I would see Bridges creating instead). With Rosanne Cash, Sam Phillips, Benji Hughes, and his CRAZY HEART collaborator, Ryan Bingham, also joining Bridges on the album, we can start to get a sense of what Jeff Bridges will sound like.
I was fortunate to attend a screening of CRAZY HEART with Bridges while the idea of this album had only begun being tossed around and then again during the Paley Center's presentation of his American Masters program this past January. From those early stages to only a few months ago, the passion Bridges has when speaking about music has always been clear and consistently peaked my interest to see (and hear) what he has been itching to create.
Are you looking forward to hearing Jeff Bridges' album? What is your impression when actors make the switch over to music?
Jeff Bridges will be released on August 16th on Blue Note Records.
“What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do”
“I Will Wait”
“Maybe I Missed The Point”
“Everything But Love”
Check out Bridges' official site for upcoming tour dates.
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