Jeff Bridges is simply a cool person - no argument. Between staring in cult classics, winning Oscars, and generally giving off a calm, nonchalant air of a man very happy with his place in the world, he makes a refreshing presence in showbiz. Thanks to his easy living charm this first major label entry into the murky waters of actor-turned-songwriter already seems a more assured bet. Throw musical icon T-Bone Burnett into the mix as producer as well as a handful of talented guests and you’ve got good reason to get excited.
‘What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do’ starts things off on a fittingly Country note, declaring how no matter how blue the world makes ya honey (and it will being a country record) love will go some way to mending those problems. Bridges vocals bring the twang, but his natural wispy mellow tones still shine through on occasion, adding a more dreamy touch. It’s not the strongest or most original of voices but it works, and most importantly he sounds like he’s enjoying himself.
Containing several of Bridges on compositions, including the rock edged ‘Slow Boat’, the majority of the album sees the sixty-one year old tackle tunes by renowned songwriters such as Greg Brown, Bo Ramsay and ‘Crazy Heart’ collaborator Stephen Bruton. Guest vocalist Rosanne Cash (of Johnny heritage) adds a delicate layer of melancholy on numbers such as ‘Either Way’ while pedal-steel guitarist Russ Pahl proves an irreplaceable presence on the majority of the album.
Overall the ten tracks make a perfect accompaniment to a lazy afternoon, work done, drink in hand and feet up on your imaginary American porch. While Bridges own material lends itself to a more ‘60s indebted guitar based sound, it’s still got a natural groove that cuts through the bite. The man's laid backed come casual stoner image remains untarnished; ‘The Dude’ is still cool.
Key to the albums success is the simple fact it sounds, and is, natural. Bridges is an avid music fan, owning his own studio, performing publicly, memorably once at a Big Lebowski convention to the delight of fans, and enjoys relaxing at home jamming with friends. There is none of the sad sense of ‘performance’ apparent in some actors musical attempts, no reeking smell of desperation from the desire for acceptance. It’s just ten songs, a guitar, some buddies and huge smile whacked of his bearded face.