Jeff Bridges: Jeff Bridges (Blue Note)

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Jeff Bridges: Nothing Yet
Jeff Bridges: Jeff Bridges (Blue Note)

After his multiple awards-winning turn as broken down country singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart, and the spin-off T Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack, there should be interest in this (also produced by Burnett) where Bridges again sings persuasively on originals and material by John Goodwin, Stephen Bruton (who wrote most of the Crazy Heart soundtrack), Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey.

Although some of the same Crazy Heart players are here – Ryan Bingham, drummer Joey Bellerose, bassist Dennis Crouch – as well as stellar guitarist Marc Ribot and Rosanne Cash (backing vocals), this isn't Crazy Heart Part Two.

Despite the upbeat and unexceptional Bruton-penned Everlys-styled opener What A Little Love Can Do, many of these are quieter and more dark songs (Bridges' spare Falling Short, Bruton's slow ballad Nothing Yet which Bridges delivers like a whiskey-barrel Costello).

And Ribot brings touches of the stuttering angularity he shows on Tom Waits albums as on the atmospheric noir-ballad Slow Boat and the strange cabaret of Bridges' Tumbling Vine (“(I'm buddhistly bent, wonderful mind, outside of time”).

So it is beyond the familiar country moods (Everything But Love, the bluesy treatment of Brown's Blue Car) where this has some real sinew and emotional depth.

And the more interesting the material, the more Bridges brings to it, as on the spooky, funereally-paced Slow Boat and whispery Either Way.

Mostly impressive.

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