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August 17, 2011

Global: Jeff Bridges, Guitar Hero?

By Marnie Hanel

Walking the line between the screen and studio. Photo © Dustin Cohen

It's a big week for The Dude. Not only is The Big Lebowski (1998) finally out on Blu-Ray, but also the movie's fearless front man, Jeff Bridges, is out of the recording studio: Blue Note Records just released the actor's 11-track, self-titled album. On the boot heels of his Oscar-winning performance as country singer Bad Blake in 2009's Crazy Heart, Bridges, 61, took a year off acting to collaborate with producer T Bone Burnett on the record. Burnett wrote the original music for the film with the late Stephen Bruton, on whom Bridges's hard-living character was based. As a tribute, two of the songs on Bridges' new album are ones Bruton originally intended for Crazy Heart. As for the other tracks, the actor says he's been fiddling with them for years. Although it's a departure from Be Here Soon, the indie-blues album Bridges released in 2000, the new record isn't strictly country. With its easy swagger and offhand depth, more than anything, it's definitively Bridges. The cult hero turned national treasure is ever the ambassador of cool. The Jeff Bridges album, $10; jeffbridges.com. The Big Lebowski: Limited Edition, $17; amazon.com.

On that note: Touring the Southern Blues Trail