Benefit for Berkeley Rose School
An Evening of Music and Conversation w/ Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges
Friday, April 15th
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pmFreight & Salvage
We are sold out of advance tickets for this show. Standing room only tickets will be available once the music starts at 8pm.
Proceeds will go to Berkeley Rose School so they may welcome more families who desire a rigorous, developmentally appropriate & whole-child focused education.
Berkeley Rose School is a Waldorf-Inspired School in the Heart of Berkeley
We are enrolling tomorrow’s citizens of the world today. Look into our amazing world.
An album was a logical follow-up to Bridges' Academy Award-winning 2009 portrayal of Bad Blake. "I actually passed on the movie at first because it had no music in it," says Bridges, "but when I found out that T Bone was interested, I was like, 'Let's do this thing.'
In August 2011, Jeff released his self-titled major label debut album for Blue Note Records. Multiple-Grammy Award-wining songwriter, musician and producer T Bone Burnett produced the album. It is an organic extension and culmination of his personal, professional and music friendship with Burnett, whom he has known for more than 30 years.
The critically acclaimed album was a follow up to his first solo effort "Be Here Soon," on Ramp Records, the Santa Barbara, CA label he co-founded with Michael McDonald and producer/singer/songwriter Chris Pelonis, who will be joining Bridges on stage at the Willma on March 15. The CD features guest appearances by vocalist/keyboardist Michael McDonald, Grammy-nominated Amy Holland and country-rock legend David Crosby. In 2014, he released his first live album "Jeff Bridges & The Abiders Live" and has been touring off and on when he is not working.
But Bridges' involvement in music goes back a lot longer, and far deeper, than just this one film. "I've been into music ever since I was a kid," he says. "My mother forced me to take piano lessons, maybe when I was around 8—I got as far as 'Fur Elise' and I bailed, and I've regretted it ever since." But then he discovered his brother Beau's Danelectro guitar, and starting in high school, joined up with his grade-school buddy Goodwin and a group of other friends for a Wednesday night jam session—which they continued, every week, for the next fifteen years. ("We recorded everything we did on a reel to reel," says Bridges. "We've talked about mining that stuff, seeing if there's anything worth polishing up.")
Though his parents, actors Dorothy and Lloyd Bridges, encouraged their kids to pursue the thespian track, Jeff was more interested in music and art. But when he started to see some success in the movies at a young age, he says he was "drawn to the path of least resistance, and music took a backseat—but I was still writing all that time."
As he made more films, and became one of the most prominent and respected actors of his time, Bridges found that music was often a key element in his projects. "Different assignments would come up and turn me on to different types of music," he says. "The Fabulous Baker Boys was all about getting steeped in jazz, learning about this Bill Evans style of piano playing.
"On movie sets, so many actors also play music. A great example of that was Heaven's Gate—Kris Kristofferson brought along many of his musician friends, like Ronnie Hawkins, Stephen Bruton and T Bone, and our down time was all spent making music. That movie was really the birth of the music that came out in Crazy Heart."
That 1980 film marked the beginning of a long-time relationship between Bridges and Burnett. The guiding hand behind such Grammy powerhouses as the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack and Robert Plant and Allison Krauss' Raising Sand, as well as recent albums by Gregg Allman and the duo of Elton John and Leon Russell, Burnett selected the songs for the soundtrack to the incomparable 1998 film The Big Lebowski. After they reunited for Crazy Heart, Bridges approached Burnett about making a record together.
"Jeff is an honest-to-God artist," says Burnett. "And he's also a most readily-directed person—if you say something, he absorbs it and takes it in."
"I look at T Bone the same way I relate to a director on a movie," says Bridges. "I empower them to help me to transcend myself and take me further than I think I can go. I see him as an aspect of myself—I try to create as thin a membrane between each other as possible, and become one entity and let it rip."
From an initial group of fifty songs, they narrowed down their choices and wound up cutting sixteen songs in just over a week. Burnett assembled his usual team of ace musicians—including drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist Dennis Crouch, keyboardist Keefus Ciancia, Russ Paul on pedal steel, and guitarist Jackson Smith, along with the astonishing Marc Ribot adding guitar on some tracks—plus guest vocalists Rosanne Cash, Sam Phillips, and Benji Hughes.
"All these musicians were wonderful – real masters," says Bridges. "You show them the chord changes once and the song is immediately not just played but interpreted beautifully."
Perhaps the most notable element of Jeff Bridges, though, is the extraordinary songwriting. Writers like Greg Brown and the late Stephen Bruton may not be household names, but they are true musicians' musicians. Their contributions, next to four songs that Bridges wrote or co-wrote, add up to a unified voice for the album—simple but philosophical, concise but profound.
Bridges is especially pleased by the inclusion of several compositions by John Goodwin, his friend since fourth grade. "It was really joyful to have my dear friend there when we were recording," he says, "and to realize some of these songs of his—like 'Everything But Love' or 'The Quest'—that I've been playing for years."
After finishing work on this album, Jeff Bridges concludes that there are strong connections between his two passions of acting and music-making. "There are more similarities than differences," he says. "They're both very collaborative, you're working with different artists, but there are also solo aspects in the writing and the practicing. You prepare, and then you let go and give it up."
In 1983, Jeff founded the End Hunger Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to feeding children around the world. Jeff produced the End Hunger televent, a three-hour live television broadcast focusing on world hunger. The televent featured Gregory Peck, Jack Lemmon, Burt Lancaster, Bob Newhart, Kenny Loggins and other leading film, television and music stars in an innovative production to educate and inspire action.
He is currently the national spokesman for the Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry campaign that is fighting to end childhood hunger in America.
Jeff and his wife Susan divide their time between their home in Santa Barbara, California, and their ranch in Montana.
At the age of 13 Jessie's Dad (actor, Jeff Bridges) gave her a very special gift—her first guitar. Growing up she was exposed to the music her parent's listened to in the 50's, 60's and 70's; so, naturally, those were the songs and styles she was attracted to most. As her talent developed, she began to also explore the complicated world of translating feelings into lyrics.
With influences from The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Everly Brothers, to Wilco, Jenny Lewis and Neko Case, Jessie explores music in a way that hooks the listener both lyrically and melodically. Due to her multitude of inspirations, it's been difficult for her to attach herself to any one genre of music. Perhaps that's the very reason why she appeals to so many different people!
Truly an introspective artist, Jessie explains that, "writing songs is about personal expression. It's a way to pick apart all the knotted up memories, stories, and experiences that accumulate over time. [She] didn't realize that others related to her struggles and triumphs until she started sharing [her] songs…exposing others to [her] dark and light sides…showing [her] true, vulnerable self."
And it's because of the way she stumbles down her own rocky path that most people will find something special in Jessie Bridges; her songs seem to resonate in a way that leaves you wanting more.