A track from the late Stephen Bruton that was left out of the film "Crazy Heart" will lead off Jeff Bridges' first solo album in 11 years. EMI's Blue Note will release the disc on Aug. 16.
Bridges and his producer T-Bone Burnett, who first teamed on "Crazy Heart," greeted retailers at the EMI suite at NARM Tuesday afternoon. Burnett got the crowd's attention to listen to the album's first two songs, one of which he introduced as a "country hit" and other as bearing "a Beach Boys influence." A copy of the album was burned for the presentation as not every track is final.
Bridges said he will promote the album with an appearance on "Austin City Limits." Performances in low-profile venues in Southern California -- most likely near his home in Santa Barbara -- are being considered for June.
Bruton co-wrote, mostly with Burnett, six of the songs on "Crazy Heart," the film that won Bridges an acting Oscar and Burnett and Ryan Bingham Oscars for best original song. The new album features musicians who worked on the soundtrack, plus singers Rosanne Cash, Benji Hughes and others.
Bridges told the crowd he "thinks of himself as a musician" in addition to being an actor, noting his relationship with Burnett dates back 30 years to "Heaven's Gate" when Kris Kristofferson introduced them to each other.