We probably should have shot this Tiny Desk Concert in black-and-white. Listening to Leon Bridges, I hear a sound with its heart and soul rooted in 1962. There's purity in his soulful voice that's unadorned, untouched and unaffected by 21st-century pop.
Still, the songs from this 26-year-old Texas singer feel refreshing in the context of the day. Surely there are touches of Sam Cooke's sound, but Bridges has a way of making the familiar feel adventurous and new.
That may be because this is new to him. Bridges only picked up the guitar around age 20, and only began listening to classic soul music after friends told him he sounded like R&B musicians from long ago. What he's tapped into on his debut album Coming Home — recorded with fellow Fort Worth musicians, including Austin Jenkins from White Denim — is a universal sound. He's easy to love and tough to resist, and his performance at the Tiny Desk with his fabulous band is a testament to that.
Coming Home is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)
- "Coming Home"
- "Smooth Sailin'"
- "Twistin' & Groovin'"
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Colin Marshall, Lani Milton; Assistant Producer: Elena Saavedra Buckley; photo by Lydia Thompson/NPR