Be Here Soon

Jeff Bridges

Ramp Records, 2000

http://www.jeffbridges.com

REVIEW BY: Alicia St. Rose

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/21/2000

I've always admired Jeff Bridges, a fine actor and person of genuine character who works hard to see that people don't go hungry in America. He always seemed to eschew that Hollywood glitter and reveled in the dust with the rest of us. So with my respect for Mr. Bridges ranking high on the gauge, I was a little trepiditious upon hearing about his latest venture: a new album of music performed by the Starman himself!

We've all seen it before. A film or TV star gets this crazy idea lodged in his head that he can take on the music world and sell records with his good looks alone. The result is usually an album of forced singing and overblown production with an accompanying video full of over gesticulations and facial contortions. So my heart sunk as I had visions of Jeff Bridges taking this same devilish stage which had formerly hosted Don Johnson, Bruce Willis and Eddie Murphy.

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My initial eyeballing of the cd was promising. Jeff didn't even have his face on the cover! Upon inspection of the liner notes I discovered Michael McDonald in the producer's seat and a guest appearance by David Crosby, luminaries not likely to lend their talents to a flash in the pan musician.

So with my fear abated and my interest piqued I put the disc on. Ah, that Jeff Bridges! If he says he's a musician and can put out an album well he'll back it up with a product to prove it!

Though not ground breaking, Be Here Soon emanates with a warmth and a personable quality that grows stronger with each listen. With production low key and tight, you get the impression that Bridges cut the album while he was hanging out with a few cronies in the family den. Bridges's vocal performance is impressive: a little Dave Edmunds/John Hiatt vocal styling hybrid. He delivers the lyrics with aplomb. And McDonald's soulful pipes are always a welcome embellishment.

Bridges wrote six of the nine tunes which represent the strongest tracks on the record. The songs run the gamut from reggae, folk, blues and country. Songs such as "Mask" and "Choke" reveal Bridges's humble streak. In the finely penned "Mask" he sings "The way I attach and detach/The way I do my linkin'/The way I seem to fall short/And hit the mark every now and then/...All these things I find I do/Don't give me or you a clue/What I am or what I'm for".

"Picture Frame" and the anthem "Circle Dance" are nice songs about controlling one's own destiny and not being swept off course by external influences. You get the idea that Bridges values introspection and strives for personal integrity. He gets this across without an ounce of preachiness. The John Goodwin songs are not bad ("She Lay Her Whip Down" being a highlight). It's just that some of the lyrics are a bit esoteric.

Be Here Now may not be pushing the boundaries in the rock revolution but it certainly is a solid effort in musicianship and a refreshing change from the usual "Actor cum Musician" club. It's an album from the heart and isn't that where true music really begins?

Please visit Jeff's web site. You'll get info on where to buy the album and some important information on the state of hunger in the US. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of this CD go to the End Hunger Network.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2000 Alicia St. Rose and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ramp Records, and is used for informational purposes only.