Jeff Bridges by Jeff Bridges
Blue Note Records, www.itunes.com/au
Some catchy tunes; charismatic performances
Not overly imaginative; seems like a caricature at times
When you’re The Dude you can get away with a lot of things, but even for Jeff Bridges releasing a full-length country album seems like a bit of a stretch.
It is, of course, made all the more conceivable (some would say almost inevitable) by his Oscar-winning performance as down-on-his-luck country crooner Bad Blake in 2009 flick Crazy Heart, and not surprisingly the result feels very much like an extended soundtrack of that film. And herein lies its main weakness (or strength, if you really dug Crazy Heart) – it comes across as something created and delivered by a character, rather than Bridges himself. This makes it difficult to properly connect with the artist, and it leaves you feeling like you’ve been presented with a work of fiction rather than of honesty.
In tracks like the Blue Car (whose child-like lyrics may well earn him a call from lawyers representing The Wiggles) andThe Quest, Bridges even sounds like he’s putting on an accent, which doesn’t help, and the cover art may as well have been lifted straight from the film’s promotional material.
Putting that aside, it is an inoffensive listen that does show flashes of Bridges’ on-screen charisma and is successful in getting the foot a-tapping more than a few times. What a Little Love Can Do is a catchy opener that will no doubt play well on the massive country music radio scene in the US, while later on a guest appearance by Rosanne Cash on the wistful Either Way adds some credibility to proceedings. Elsewhere the highlights are hard to come by, but by playing it safe throughout, he at least comes away without becoming a Keanu Reeves/Russell Crowe style self-parody in his debut musical outing.
So overall this is a pleasant, if not particularly imaginative meander, best enjoyed wearing a large hat and squinting reflectively across a dusty landscape.