(EMI) Jeff Bridges has signed a recording deal with EMI's Blue Note Records, which will release his major-label debut album in late summer.
Inspired by their collaboration on Crazy Heart, Bridges has chosen to record the album with his long-time friend, the multiple-Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician, and producer T-Bone Burnett, who is known for his work with Allison Krauss and Robert Plant, Elton John and Leon Russell, and the Grammy-winning soundtracks to O Brother, Where Are Thou? and Walk the Line.
Bridges and Burnett met more than 30 years ago when Kris Kristofferson introduced them during the filming of the 1980 motion picture Heaven's Gate. The relationship has continued over the years as Burnett selected the songs that appeared on the soundtrack to the 1998 film The Big Lebowski, starring Bridges, as well as co-writing several songs for the soundtrack to Crazy Heart, including "The Weary Kind," which earned Burnett his second Oscar nomination and first win (along with songwriter Ryan Bingham) for "Best Original Song."
Bridges' album for Blue Note is an organic extension and culmination of his personal, professional, and now musical friendship with Burnett. As Bridges told the Santa Barbara Independent: "It's a relationship that's really inflamed my music." Burnett has assembled a number of his key repertory players to perform on Bridges' album, including Keefus Ciancia, Mark Ribot, Dennis Crouch, and Jay Bellerose, and guest vocalists Rosanne Cash, Sam Phillips, and Benji Hughes. Bridges will contribute several of his own compositions as well as perform material by a collection of world-class songwriters, including Burnett's Crazy Heart collaborators the late Stephen Bruton and John Goodwin, as well as Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, Tom Waits, and others. More details will be announced in the coming months.
Bridges is fueled by a life-long passion for music, as can be seen on the PBS American Masters program that aired in January 2011 (watch the piece here). Next month, the guitar-playing thespian appears on the May cover of Esquire Magazine's music issue, which hits newsstands on April 26th.