Written by Jim Bille
ImageAcademy award winning actor Jeff Bridges and his band The Abiders came through Houston last weekend and gave a commendable performance at Warehouse Live. The more or less half full Warehouse ballroom probably didn’t know what to expect since Bridge’s is not very well known on the music side of the entertainment world.

It took a few minutes for the star struck crowd to adjust to Bridges the musician instead of Bridges the movie star but once the tinsel town wow factor wore off it was all about the Dude’s second love, music.    

Judging from this show it was obvious that Bridges is serious about his music. After releasing two albums on his own with help from renowned producer T. Bone Burnett along with his stellar academy award winning performance as Otis “Bad” Blake in the movie “Crazy Heart”, Bridges appears to be carving a niche for himself behind the microphone and guitar.

His band, “The Abiders”, consist of Chris Pelonis on lead guitar, Bill Flores on pedal steel and squeeze box, Randy Tico on drums and Tom Lackner on bass. Not sure of any back ground on these performers but it was obvious they had been around the musical block many times and probably have been for many years.

The prodigious match up of Pelonis and Flores’s guitar work was amazing at times. Bridges himself was no slouch on mostly rhythm guitar rounding out the ensemble.

The two hour set consisted of numerous songs penned by the late Texas singer / song writer Stephen Bruton, who collaborated with Bridges and Burnett on “Crazy Heart”.

The CCR classic “Lookin out my Backdoor” was dedicated by Bridges to his character, ‘The Dude” from “The Big Lebowski”.

ImageMaybe poking a little fun at himself, Bridges even did a great version of The Byrds classic “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star”.

The bands rendition of the Tom Waits tune, “Never Let Go” featuring Bridges’ low tone vocals and piano work was one of my favorites of the evening.

For the encore number Bridges again paid tribute to another late great Texas singer / songwriter by performing an outstanding version of “To Live Is to Fly”, by Townes Van Zandt.

The show exceeded my expectations and one really needs to give credit to Jeff Bridges for not relying on his star power alone to think he could pull this off. He appears to have the same commitment to his side project of making music as he does for making great movies, not to mention his genuine musical talent.

You never know maybe one day he’ll sit a Grammy next to his Oscar.

Full Set List:

Thousand Year Plan
What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do
Somebody Else
Exception To The Rule
I Don’t Know
She Lay Her Whip Down
Van Gogh
Slow Boat
What Happens
Never Let Go
Blue Car
Fallin’ & Flyin
The Quest
Lookin’ Out My Back Door
Maybe I Missed The Point
The Weary Kind
So You Want To Be Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
Man In Me


To Live Is to Fly