OK, I definitely do that once in a while, but I don’t consider myself an intense person.” Bridgers grew up in the rose-colored city of Pasadena, attending the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts to study music.
From an early age, she found encouragement from a close-knit artistic community of friends and family to follow her dreams, and at school she forged relationships that would teach her as much about her craft as her classes.
But of course the truth is that the unique ingredient at play, the calling card that has drawn all this interest and intrigue, is simply Bridgers’ music itself.
Her powerful, lilting voice and her haunting, introspective songs light the torch that shows the way, and are what have inspired artists like Ryan Adams to produce her 2015 single, or Julien Baker to bring her on tour in 2016, as well as John Doe and Conor Oberst to sing with her on her debut album.
In the midst of putting together that band - upstate New York's The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more) - the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form, released in October 2016 as Ruminations.
Everybody would be asleep and I would just go into this one room, make a fire, and play all night.“It seemed so different from anything I’d listened to before.It is so personal, so intense.” Bridgers’ work would be heavily influenced by Smith’s sparse lyrics and subdued emotional style, in addition to that of her other favored singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen.Stranger in the Alps opens with the one-two punch of “Smoke Signals” and “Motion Sickness,” a pair of songs that highlight Bridgers’ abilities.The former, a gorgeous, ethereal tune guided by sparse electric guitar and sweeping strings, toes the line between weary and wistful, using specific anecdotes from its singer to tell its tale.