Oscar-Winning Actor Jeff Bridges Signs with Blue Note Records
Now, this news definitely falls under the unexpected but not so unexpected category. Actor Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, True Grit) has signed with Blue Note Records/EMI Music Group and will release his major label debut album in late summer. I say this news was "not so unexpected" because Bridges won the Academy Award for his portrayal of a down and out former country musician in the 2009 film Crazy Heart, in which Bridges actually sang. It was only a matter of time before Bridges was going to release music of his own. Well, now looks to be that time.
Inspired by their work together on Crazy Hearts, Bridges will collaborate once again with friend and Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician and producer T-Bone Burnett. Burnett is known for his extraordinary work with Allison Krauss and Robert Plant, Elton John and Leon Russell as well as Grammy-winning soundtracks to O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Walk The Line. Their 30+ year friendship started during the making of the 1980 picture Heaven's Gate, when fellow actor/musician Kris Kristofferson introduced them. Over the years the friendship has only strengthened so pairing together to record an album just sounds so organic. Crazy Heart wasn't Burnett's first dabble in Hollywood, he also picked the songs that ultimately ended up on (one of my favorite movies) The Big Lebowski soundtrack. On Crazy Heart, Burnett's role was larger and significantly more involved, co-writing several of the songs that appear on that film's soundtrack, including Oscar's "Best Original Song" in 2009, "The Weary Kind," co-written by Ryan Bingham.
Working with Bridges and Burnett on the album are a number of Burnett's repertory players including Keefus Ciancia, Mark Ribot, Dennis Crouch, and Jay Bellerose, and guest vocalists Rosanne Cash, Sam Phillips, and Benji Hughes. Not only that but Bridges will be contributing several of his own compositions to the album as well as performing songs written by Crazy Heart collaborators (the late) Stephen Bruton and John Goodwin. Also writing songs for Bridges on his debut, Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, Tom Waits and others. This sounds like it's going to be amazing. Check out Bridges on PBS American Masters program from this past January, where Bridges talks about his "life-long passion for music." You can also check out Bridges on the cover of Esquire Magazine, the music issue, hitting stands April 26th.