Jeff Bridges & His Gretsch Featured in ‘Esquire’

Courtesy of Esquire/Perou

Jeff Bridges and the Gretsch G6122-1959 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman guitar he’s seen playing in his Academy-award winning Crazy Heart performance are featured in Esquire’s May issue.

The 61-year-old actor has apparently decided to take the year off from acting to concentrate on making music; he is collaborating on the country effort with producer T-Bone Burnett, who also oversaw the music for Crazy Heart, and plans to release an album on EMI’s Blue Note Records as early as August 2011.

According to the Esquire article, it was his preparation for the Bad Blake role, a drunk, washed-up country singer, that has inspired this return to music. (Bridges previously made a record in 2000 called Be Here Soon, an eclectic collection of folk, rock and soul tunes.)

“We’re here for such a short period of time,” he says. “Live like you’re already dead, man. Have a good time. Do your best. Let it all come ripping right through you.”

Bridges has apparently also remained partial to the axe he played in the movie.

“His beautiful guitar is there on its stand, in the middle of the floor, shining in the light,” notes Esquire. “It is one of a kind. It is a perfect, hand-distressed modern replica of the Gretsch Country custom-made for the legendary Chet Atkins in 1959, with its distinctive telltale “single cutaway” where the neck meets the body. An intricate, elaborate leather strap with silver buckles hangs from it; BAD, the strap reads, in big block letters.”

Read the Esquire article here.

His upcoming major label debut will include guest appearances by Rosanne Cash, Sam Phillips and Benjie Hughes.

Fans can probably expect to hear the new material on Thursday, Aug. 11, when he plays a benefit concert at the Buffalo Chip Campground during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Proceeds will go to the Bob Woodruff Foundation.