RedEye

Stagecoach 2013: Norah Jones, Jeff Bridges go country on the side

INDIO -- With its elaborate network of traditions and signifiers, country music provides great cover for moonlighters eager to escape into a ready-made sideline. Quite a few part-timers are on the bill at Stagecoach this year, including the pop-jazz superstar Norah Jones, Chris Shiflett (of Foo Fighters) and the actors Jeff Bridges and John C. Reilly.

And on Sunday night, the main stage will feature Darius Rucker, who's a full-time country act these days but reached Nashville only after scaling the pop chart with Hootie & the Blowfish.

Doing material from his self-titled 2011 album and from the 2009 film "Crazy Heart" (in which he played a washed-up country star), Bridges sounded fine Friday evening on the Palomino Stage, his craggy vocals a good match for the atmospheric grooves churned out by his four-man band, the Abiders.

TIMELINE: Coachella and Stagecoach

But nothing about the set felt exceptional in a musical sense; Bridges was merely hitting a bar that all of the acts at Stagecoach seem capable of hitting. What lifted the performance above business as usual were the bits that drew on his Hollywood background: the stories he told about working with Kris Kristofferson on "Heaven's Gate" and with T Bone Burnett on "Crazy Heart." And his lengthy do-gooder's monologue on how too many American children are going hungry "even in this land of plenty."

It didn't hurt, either, when he introduced John Fogerty's "Lookin' Out My Back Door" as "a little Creedence from the Dude," channeling his indelible character from "The Big Lebowski."

Jones was more distinctive later Friday night with her country cover band, the Little Willies -- that's what happens with a voice as readily identifiable as hers. Yet the group's performance, with versions of traditional material such as "Delia's Gone" and "Roly Poly," felt woefully genteel, especially as sandwiched between appealingly cantankerous main-stage sets by Toby Keith and Hank Williams Jr.

FULL COVERAGE: Coachella 2013

Singing Dolly Parton's "Jolene," about a woman beseeching the title character not to take her man, Jones wasn't begging so much as she was making a polite request.

Nick 13 projected a similarly earnest vibe Saturday afternoon on the same stage. But the singer known to punk fans as the frontman of L.A.'s Tiger Army was far more energetic as he sang crisp Sun Records-style tunes about the dangers of love ("Cupid's Victim") and his devotion to California ("101"). His is a sideline  worth pursuing.

ALSO:

George Jones, country music icon, dies at 81

Stagecoach 2013: Goodbye, Coachella; hello, country music

Stagecoach 2013: Toby Keith, Trace Adkins lead a man's world

Follow Mikael Wood on Twitter: @mikaelwood

PHOTOS AND MORE PHOTOS: Concerts by the Times PHOTOS: Unexpected musical collaborations PHOTOS: Musician feuds: The dirt & details

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Stagecoach 2013: Goodbye, Coachella; hello, country music

    Stagecoach 2013: Goodbye, Coachella; hello, country music

    INDIO -- It didn't take long Friday for Stagecoach -- the three-day country-music jamboree set to run through Sunday night at the Empire Polo Club -- to differentiate itself from the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which took over the same sun-scorched setting for two weekends earlier...

  • Where to go to laugh while The Second City undergoes repairs

    Where to go to laugh while The Second City undergoes repairs

    The early-afternoon fire on Aug. 26 that started in the Adobo Grill restaurant next door to The Second City has forced the historic theater to move or cancel all of its performances in their Mainstage, e.t.c and UP Comedy Club theaters until at least Sunday, Sept. 20, which will mark 26 days without...

  • City to offer ticket, tax amnesty program

    City to offer ticket, tax amnesty program

    Faced with pushing through City Council a massive property tax increase and other fees as part of a 2016 budget, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to slightly soften that politically difficult package by offering an amnesty program for people who have unpaid tickets and back taxes they owe the city.

  • O'Hare noise complaints top 2 million for year

    O'Hare noise complaints top 2 million for year

    Complaints about jet noise from O'Hare International Airport topped 2 million during the first seven months of this year — eight times the number filed in all of 2014, the Chicago Department of Aviation said Friday.

  • Second City to move or cancel shows through Sept. 20 after fire

    Second City to move or cancel shows through Sept. 20 after fire

    Second City announced Friday it is moving or canceling all performances scheduled in its Mainstage, e.t.c. Stage and UP Comedy Club theaters through Sept. 20 as the comedy company works to clean up after an extra-alarm fire destroyed its Old Town offices last week, though not the performance spaces.

  • Two new 'Empire' songs released before Season 2 premiere

    Two new 'Empire' songs released before Season 2 premiere

    Fox and Columbia Records this week released two new tracks for the second season of "Empire," a show that's filmed in Chicago.

Comments
Loading
74°