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Leon Bridges, back to the present

By Marc Zisman |

With the groovy "Gold-Diggers Sound", Bridges releases a third album that moves away from his retro beginnings to better stick to the soul and R&B of his time...

We all know the situation by now: pandemic and confinement make you cogitate, compose and then record. Gold-Diggers Sound by Leon Bridges is a child born from those days and nights, locked up in a studio in Los Angeles. An album celebrating this immersive and introspective total experience based in a corner of East Hollywood where he lived for almost two years. The title of the album is actually the name of this spot that is both hotel, lounge bar, artist residence and recording studio...

In 2015, his first album (Qobuzissime) Coming Home had made this Atlanta native a kind of new knight in shining retro soul. In 2018, he released his second album, Good Thing, with nu soul flavours, then, two years later we were graced with his very psychedelic EP Texas Sun (recorded with Khruangbin), that really proved that Leon Bridges was looking to get rid of that Sam Cooke/Otis Redding armour of the third millennium...

Fairly laid-back in its entirety, Gold-Diggers Sound is an album that can be enjoyed over time. A record of deep and sensual R&B that does not prevent its author from taking on committed themes like on Sweeter where he evokes the harshness of life of African-Americans. In this period blurred by the assassination of George Floyd, his contribution is subtle and never rambling.

But his DNA remains first and foremost that of a pure lover, as on Why Don't You Touch Me... Leon Bridges has invited to his groovy group two modern jazz pointers, pianist Robert Glasper (Born Again) and saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin (Born Again, Gold-Diggers (Junior's Fanfare), Don't Worry and Sweeter), just to make his soulful shindig even more the place to be...


LISTEN TO "GOLD-DIGGERS SOUND" BY LEON BRIDGES ON QOBUZ