If Bad Blake, the boozy country singer Jeff Bridges played in 2009’s “Crazy Heart,” could make albums, he may have made something like “Jeff Bridges.” The actor’s self-titled album is decidedly country, at once sad and hopeful, laced with heartfelt harmonies and slide guitars.
Perhaps inspired by the movie and certainly made possible by his Oscar win, Bridges sought out his longtime friend (and “Crazy Heart” songwriter and producer) T Bone Burnett to produce the 10-song collection, which features tracks penned by other contributors to the film. Bridges wrote two of the songs himself and co-wrote another with Burnett.
The actor’s two self-penned tracks, “Falling Short” and Tumbling Vine,” are among the album’s most haunting and contemplative, as the 61-year-old sings about what it means to be alive. He continues that theme on “Slow Boat,” the song he wrote with Burnett, and throughout the CD. “If it’s as bad or good as it can get, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” he sings on one track. “I wasn’t born to be standing still long,” he sings on another. “You know one day my tombstone will say born to be gone.”
The Dude is a deep guy, but Bridges is at his best when he’s singing about love. He’s earnest on “Either Way,” and downright heart-wrenching on “Everything But Love,” singing, “The moon cries on the mountains/When it looks down from above/and it sees everything but love.”
Bridges, Burnett and Bad Blake should be proud of the actor’s eponymous CD. Its 10 songs are solid, if sometimes sad, establishing Bridges as a bonafide musician, not just a guy who plays one on screen.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: On the opening track, “What a Little Bit of Love Can Do,” Bridges sounds like the cheery-eyed uncle everyone wishes they had. Written by his close friend who died in 2009, Bridges played the song informally for years before leading off his album with it. Upbeat and sweet, the song offers a taste of Bridges’ country style and big-hearted vocals.