As an actor, Jeff Bridges followed his Oscar-winning turn as down-but-not-out country singer Bad Blake in "Crazy Heart" with an Oscar-nominated spin as down-but-not-out lawman Rooster Cogburn in "True Grit."
Now comes the news that Bridges will pick up a guitar once more, not for "Crazy Heart II," but for an album slated to be produced by his longtime friend, producer and "Crazy Heart" prime mover T Bone Burnett.
Bridges has signed with Blue Note Records and is scheduled to release his major-label debut album late this summer, according to a statement released Tuesday by Blue Note.
The project will include songs written by Bridges as well as material from Tom Waits, the late "Crazy Heart" music supervisor Stephen Bruton, Greg Brown and others. The actor-musician will share vocal duties on some tracks with guests including Rosanne Cash, Sam Phillips and Benjie Hughes.
Shortly after "Crazy Heart" was completed Burnett noted that Bridges and director Scott Cooper were intimately involved with the creation of the original songs used in the film. "Really, Jeff and Scott could get writing credit on these songs, because they contributed so much," Burnett told me in 2009. "Even though I'm not sure they wrote any actual lines, the discussions would become songs. Somebody would say something, Jeff would say, 'That's a song'-- that sort of thing."