COUNTRY AT HEART
HE WON RAVES FOR HIS TURN AS A CROONER IN CRAZY HEART. NOW THE ACTOR IS MAKING MUSIC FOR REAL
YOU’RE AN OSCAR-WINNING ACTOR. WHY DABBLE IN MUSIC?
Music has been part of my life since I was a teen. It’s more difficult for me to not make music than it is to make it, so the album is just me sharing what I am. Risks are good things.
YOUR NEW CD IS DUE IN AUGUST. WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR IT COME FROM?
It’s an eclectic album but certainly has country elements fueled by Crazy Heart. It really started 30 years ago when I met Kris Kristofferson on Heaven’s Gate. He brought music buddies T Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton [they produced and cowrote Bridges’s album] to the set. After work, we’d be jamming.
WHAT DO YOU CONNECT TO IN COUNTRY MUSIC?
The honesty. Most of my country stuff is earlier guys like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. There’s a rawness to them, an unadulterated humanness. I admire that kind of writing.
WHAT WOULD YOUR CRAZY HEART CHARACTER BAD BLAKE THINK OF THE MUSIC?
I know Bad would dig it! The record transcended my expectations.
STARS SHARE THEIR BEST CHILDHOOD TRIPS
When I was growing up in a small farming community in South Carolina, the biggest building I saw was our church or high school. So going to a big city was huge. When we went to St. Louis and I saw that arch, it was like, “Holy cow!” It was mind-boggling.
It was the summer of fourth grade. My father’s best friend in West Virginia moved to California, so we took a trip there. We spent two weeks sightseeing Disneyland, Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm … everything you could see! It was the best. It felt like we were in another world.
I’m not trying to sound pitiful, but we went on one family vacation my entire life. When I was 5, we went to Opryland. I can’t remember a whole lot, but I do remember being a big fan of that river raft ride and laughing at my mom because she was afraid of getting wet.
We used to go to Myrtle Beach with the whole family. I remember being on the beach when an ice cream truck went by. My cousin and I raised immortal hell for that ice cream, so my grandfather took off running after the truck with me in one arm and my cousin in the other. He hit the pavement with no shoes on, feet burning up and his pants about to fall down!
Every year we’d load up in the van and go to Kings Island in Ohio. My mom would pack fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn and biscuits because we were too poor to buy food in the park. We’d ride the rides and at lunch, come out to the van and eat. Those were the best vacations ever.
When I was a kid, my dad took me on a road trip from Florida up to New York. We went to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. We pull in and the whole town was nothing but baseball. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
THE SINGER PUTS HIS HOME ON THE MARKET
Eric Church, 34, and his wife, Katherine, 32, are expecting their first child in the fall. Church said Katherine did a pregnancy test three times “because she didn’t believe it.” Now that it’s sunk in, “I love it, but it’s scary.”
Shooter Jennings, 32, and his fiancee, The Sopranos actress Drea de Matteo, 39, welcomed son Waylon Albert “Blackjack” Jennings on April 7. Jennings-son of Waylon Jennings-and de Matteo also have a daughter, Alabama Gypsy Rose, 3.
Country Music Hall of Famer Ferlin Husky, who recorded classics “Gone” and “Wings of a Dove,” died on March 17 at age 85. Husky appeared in films with Zsa Zsa Gabor and Jayne Mansfield and headlined a tour with a young Elvis Presley.
Rascal Flatts’s former manager, Turner Nichols & Associates, is suing the group for a cut from their upcoming tour. The band said they “hope that this can be resolved amicably.”
Kenny Rogers, 72, is penning an autobiography, tentatively set for the fall. “The older I get, the more interesting my life used to be,” he said, noting that if he doesn’t write it down soon, “I may forget it.” • George Strait, 59, and a business partner acquired the 250-acre Tapatio Springs Golf Resort and Conference Center near San Antonio. Strait is planning to completely upgrade the property.
The JaneDear Girls’ Susie Brown is the proud new owner of Lady, a Yorkie puppy. Lady is “a sock killer” but is otherwise “the perfect little baby angel.”
Tim McGraw, 44, dropped out of Denzel Washington‘s upcoming spy thriller Safe House because of scheduling conflicts with his Emotional Traffic tour. In August he’ll appear in Dirty Girl with Dwight Yoakam and William H. Macy.
ON CAPITOL HILL
On April 14 Trace Adkins, 49, appeared before a House of Representatives subcommittee to implore legislators to do more to preserve Civil War battlefields. Adkins’s great-great-grandfather Henry T. Morgan fought for the Confederacy.