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Jeff Bridges

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Few people knew that actor Jeff Bridges (son of Lloyd Bridges) was a songwriter -- though he played one in The Fabulous Baker Boys -- that is, until his award-winning turn as fading country music star Bad Blake in the film Crazy Heart. The truth, however, is that Bridges had cut and released his first album, Be Here Soon, back in 2000. That album featured an amalgam of pop, rock, country, and even blue-eyed soul songs written or co-written by the artist; it was co-produced by Bridges with Chris Pelonis and Michael McDonald (who also played keys on the session). It also featured guest vocal performances by Bryan Ferry and David Crosby. It was released on the independent Ramp Records, and quickly faded from view after mixed reviews -- mostly (and unfairly) due to its polished production standards. As Bad Blake, Bridges sang in Crazy Heart, and appeared in more selections on its soundtrack (some of which were self-penned). The set was produced by longtime friend T-Bone Burnett. Shortly thereafter, Bridges was signed to Blue Note Records, and re-teamed with Burnett and the producer's go-to stable of studio aces. The album resulting from those sessions, simply entitled Jeff Bridges, was released in the summer of 2011. Bridges did increasing shows and tours with his band the Abiders (named after his role as the Dude Who Abides in the 1998 iconic cult film The Big Lebowski), which included Bridges (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Chris Pelonis (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Bill Flores (pedal steel, guitar), Randy Tico (upright, electric bass), and Tom Lackner (drums, percussion). Billed as Jeff Bridges & the Abiders, the band did a summer concert run at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas in 2014, all of which were recorded and led to the Pelonis -produced 14-track Live album later that same year. ~ Thom Jurek

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