Texas born Leon Bridges has just released his debut album, Coming Home. As a soul singer his music has a relaxed style especially on the title track. Every song has a 1950’s pre-Motown vibe accompanied by black and white music videos, with him singing into a retro mic.
The instrumentation on the tunes firmly places it in the soul genre, with the singer also playing guitar in many tracks and a standard jazz band horn section. While there is some bass it is isn’t overly strong, giving way to the guitar melodies and horn interjections.
Vintage has become extremely popular in fashion in recent years, now Bridges album shows how heavily it is influencing chart music. But unlike others, Bridges background gives his music a very authentic sound. In fact from his image to his smooth melodic voice, his style is strongly based around bringing old and new together. He has said he loves “the raw and imperfect quality of soul music” and his album certainly stays true to that.
Many references are made in the song lyrics to his Southern background. This gives an even more original feel to the tunes. Particularly Better Man, whose lyrics, such as ‘I’d swim the Mississippi river’, give it a more personal specific touch and strong soul sound, rather than the generic references made in a lot of popular songs. All of the tunes on the album also feel very sincere. The listener gets swept up by a clear passion for the music rather than any manufactured sounds.
Even before his first album, Bridges has done very well in building a big following and a distinctive musical niche. Only two years ago he was working as a dish washer in Texas. Now his album has already reached the top 20 in many countries and in February he was listed as ‘one to watch’ by the Guardian.
As well as the album Leon Bridges is currently touring around the UK. And has made appearances at Glastonbury last weekend and Latitude next month. Details of other gigs are available on his website, leonbridges.com.
Definitely an excitingly unique artist worth listening to !