by Angela Brooks
Leon Bridges gained recognition for his talents in early 2014. Originating from Fort Worth, Texas, his emergence into the music scene was by chance. White Denim’s Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block discovered Bridges while he was playing an acoustic set at a local bar. Shortly after, Jenkins and Block convinced Bridges that they needed to make a record together. Months later, Bridges signed with Columbia Records, and his debut album, Coming Home, was released in June, 2015 after much anticipation.
Bridge’s first single, and title track, “Coming Home,” was an essential contributor to the attention he garnered. Self-described as “smooth, simple soul music,” this record is unlike anything released in the last few years. Bridges’ soothing, soulful voice is a refreshing break from the over-produced pop music that saturates the 21st century airwaves. This album makes you feel like you’ve travelled 50 years back in time, but who says taking a step back (a few decades) is a bad thing?
One of Coming Home’s best tracks is the closing song, “River.” This heavy gospel track somehow evokes memories you never actually created. It’s nostalgic, yet maintains a unique print. “Better Man” is a humble love song about how Leon Bridges wants to be a (wait for it…) better man to his girl. He made a mistake and now wants to smooth things over with his fly voice, which shouldn’t be hard.
Most of the songs on Coming Home won’t have you twisting, grooving and dancing the mashed-potato all night. But, like most great performers, Leon Bridges and his incredible band can give a jolt of energy to even the most somber tracks. The groovy sound they produce makes it impossible to keep your hips still.