Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart" (photo courtesy of New West Records)

He’s a four-time Oscar nominee. Now Jeff Bridges is hoping to finally win one for his performance as a broken-down country star in “Crazy Heart,” opening in the Twin Cities Jan. 15. Hey, it worked for Robert Duvall in “Tender Mercies.” (As if to underscore the point, Duvall co-stars in "Crazy Heart," along with Maggie Gyllenhaal as the proverbial good woman who offers hope for redemption to our battered hero.)

Soundtrack producer T-Bone Burnett — the roots-rock savant best known for “O Brother Where Art Thou” — assembled an A list of singer/songwriters, including Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt and Iowa’s own Greg Brown, who contributed an unrecorded track (“Brand New Angel”) that Bridges sings in the film.

In a recent interview with indie-music mag Under the Radar, Bridges talks about how he worked with Burnett to develop his character, Bad Blake:

“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. Leonard Cohen was one of the guys we thought of. Bob Dylan. I was kind of late coming to the party of getting turned on to Greg Brown. He’s a great artist who lent a song to the movie. And he was kind of a role model. Not necessarily traditional country but kind of folk. I think Bad listened to all kinds of music. He was a music lover. Jazz and Ornette Coleman probably, all kinds of guys.”

The soundtrack will be released Jan. 19, but you can hear a sample of Bridges singing the Brown song here.


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