Jeff Bridges' grizzled vocals evoke "Leonard Cohen if he was born a cowboy instead of a Canadian Buddhist folkie"

LA Times: Blue Note

Once again I was surprised and delighted to read another reference to Leonard Cohen in the prestigious Los Angeles Times.  At first reading,  I didn't quite understand what the Jeff Bridges album reviewer was trying to say. After a friend explained it to linear me, I actually found the Leonard Cohen voice comparison a hoot.

To simplify the complicated sentence for others like myself, I highlighted the Leonard Cohen bits in red.

Album review: Jeff Bridges' 'Jeff Bridges'

All too often, a record from a famous actor can inspire cynicism in a music critic, a knee-jerk post-traumatic reaction from too many grisly attempts (anyone remember “Mr. T’s Commandments”?). Thankfully, the second album from noted thespian Jeff Bridges transcends expectations. Then again, if anyone would, it’s him: from playing a jazz pianist in 1989’s “The Fabulous Baker Boys” to his Academy Award-winning turn as a country singer in 2009’s “Crazy Heart,” Bridges has consistently portrayed musicians with wizened authenticity.
This effort appears to have evolved directly out of Bridges’ “Crazy Heart” triumph. For one, it’s produced by Grammy-bedecked studio guru T-Bone Burnett and features contributions from the likes of Greg Brown and Ryan Bingham, all of whom helped guide the “Crazy Heart” soundtrack, also produced by Burnett, toward credibility (and Oscar recognition). Unsurprisingly, Bridges proffers eccentric, rootsy Americana, from the Byrdsian guitar chime hot-wired with Buddy Holly melodies on “What a Little Bit of Love Can Do” through the pedal-steel driven, clip-clopping frontier ballad, “Everything but Love.” Most appealing are Bridges’ grizzled vocals: the sonic equivalent of gray whiskers, they evoke Nick Cave if he were, say, a baby-boomer Hollywood star baked by the Southern California sun (and other things), or Leonard Cohen if he was born a cowboy instead of a Canadian Buddhist folkie.

Bridges’ frayed charisma fits these songs perfectly. Nostalgic yet out of time, welcoming but secretly brooding, the combination creates an audio correlative to the beloved characters he’s played on-screen.

Jeff Bridges
‘Jeff Bridges’
(Blue Note)
Three stars (Out of four)
In an interview with Jeff Bridges about his character in the movie "Crazy Heart", there is a Leonard Cohen reference. click here
In fleshing out Bad's background, it was decided that his influences should extend beyond the country genre... and that he should have an eclectic taste in music. "T Bone made a wonderful graph for me of the music that Bad might have listened to," Bridges says. "Leonard Cohen was one of the guys we thought of...

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