Leon Bridges' first strides as a retro-soul artist prompted comparisons to R&B legends like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. A singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Bridges performed in and around Fort Worth, Texas and stirred up music industry interest with analog recordings, produced by Justin Block and Austin Jenkins of White Denim, which were uploaded to his SoundCloud page. Signed to major-label Columbia, his first singles -- including a rich ballad written about his mother -- appeared in February 2015 with a sound that evoked mid- to late-'60s soul. The following month, Bridges caught more attention with a performance at the South by Southwest Festival, roughly 200 miles south of his home base. His debut album, Coming Home, was released in June 2015. ~ Andy Kellman
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Soul - Released June 19, 2015 | Columbia
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A simple glance at the album cover and 30 seconds of namesake track 'Coming Home' shows clearly where Leon Bridges is coming from. Following in the footsteps of Otis Redding, Smokey Robinson and especially Sam Cooke, this Texan songwriter of just 25 years is a walking mausoleum erected to the eternal glory of soul music. But Bridges is not just simply 'reminiscent' of these legendary artists, with his first album, released at Columbia, containing original music - truly impressive and instanly timeless material! Tidy compositions, worked and arranged with the same care that brought such success to his illustrious peers from the 1960s... Steamy ballads, sensual blues, and up-tempo gospel all have their parts to play here, as Bridges demonstrates a prowess well beyond his young years in every element of his music, singing divinely and somehow managing to be completely original from first to last. On arrival, Coming Home is a soul record that will take purists back to the heyday of the genre. Impeccable in production, and oozing class - one that will surely please fans far and wide.
Soul - Released May 4, 2018 | Columbia
It’s 2018, Leon Bridges is back! Finally… after a debut album released in 2015, the stunning Coming Home, that was a sort of spirit child of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, a soul brother mastering every corner of that sixties groove, the young Texan signs off on an even more eclectic disc: Good Thing. On the first track, Bet Ain't Worth The Hand, he is languid like Curtis Mayfield. Later, he barges in on an 80s funky dance floor with You Don't Know and If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be). Later again, he opts for a velvety nu soul on Shy… These are the general feelings that emerge after a listen to this sophomore album: he never rests on his laurels and sticks with one particular groove. Thus, a general vintage sentiment exits and incomes a plural groove. At this rate, Leon Bridges might do a bit of auto tuning on his third record... © Max Dembo/Qobuz
Soul - Released February 3, 2015 | Columbia
It's difficult to imagine a 1963 Columbia release from an artist whose look and sound echo 1911. In 2015, however, the thought of a young artist seemingly transported from a bygone era -- 52 years prior, to be exact -- requires no imagination whatsoever. Here's Leon Bridges. He was born in 1989. The singer, songwriter, and guitarist takes it back to the early '60s, slightly earlier than the majority of soul-rooted artists, including labelmates Raphael Saadiq, who have favored a vintage approach over a contemporary one. For those who hold younger artists to an impossible standard of authenticity, Bridges is unlikely to receive a passing grade. As a youngster, he was naturally drawn to libidinous, then-current pop-R&B acts like Usher and Ginuwine, and he didn't even have to get his hands dirty to absorb later inspiration from the likes of Sam Cooke and pre-"Grapevine" Marvin Gaye, not when all he needed was an Internet connection. Helped by White Denim's Josh Block and Austin Jenkins, Bridges touches all the retro-soul bases. Each element of his ten-song, half-hour debut evokes early- to mid-'60s R&B: the song structures, the application of reverb, the dust-coated church organ, the doo wop background vocals, the horn charts that accent rather than dominate. Bridges sings of seeking salvation and taking trains, and he offers proposals as modest as "I won't weigh you down." If he were a shouter, Bridges would likely come across as a caricature, but he works the deeply heartfelt but understated angle -- most of the songs are ballads, and only a couple work up a sweat -- without any sense of affectation. While each line is believable, "Lisa Sawyer" is all the way real, a sweet and languid biographical sketch of Bridges' mother. It's all a pleasing time warp without turbulence, one with songs built more to evoke the past than to last in one's memory. ~ Andy Kellman
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