Thanks in part to his innate musical talent, Jeff Bridges won an Oscar playing Bad Blake, a boozy has-been country singer on the verge of a late career comeback, in 2009's Crazy Heart. Now, life imitates art for the 61-year-old actor: He's releasing his major-label country music debut, Jeff Bridges, on Tuesday. Does he have the chops to conquer Nashville as his own man?
Bridges is a true talent: If Bad Blake were a real-life country singer, says Sandy Cohen for the Associated Press, "he may have made something like Jeff Bridges." The album is quintessentially country — "at once sad and hopeful, laced with heartfelt harmonies and slide guitars." He's "downright heart-wrenching" on the track "Everything But Love" and sounds like the "cheery-eyed uncle everyone wishes they had" on "What a Little Bit of Love Can Do." Bridges proves himself not just an actor who can sing, but "a bonafide musician."
"Review: Jeff Bridges is country solid on new album"
But this album is an inadequate showcase: "Stick to acting," says David Burger at The Salt Lake Tribune. Jeff Bridges is a poor attempt by the Oscar-winner to "cash in on his recent popularity." The album is decidedly less country than it is "country-lite," and Bridges warbles the songs in a "weary, unemotional voice that is neither intriguing nor evocative." The legendary T Bone Burnett produces the album and Ryan Bingham and Roseanne Cash lend guest vocals, "but there is no redemption for this hubristic project."
"Jeff Bridges should stick to acting"
He'll always be actor first, singer second: "No matter how authentic the collaboration" between Jeff Bridges and T Bone Burnett, or how "upbeat" the reviews, says Geoff Boucher at The Los Angeles Times, the actor will "be viewed as a troubadour tourist" by country music fans. Jeff Bridges will likely be met with the same skepticism that greeted Bruce Willis, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Costner when they made similar "leading man vanity ventures" into music.
"Jeff Bridges plays to his musician's side"