A few weeks back I received an email from a friend with the subject containing one word – LISTEN. All capitalized. It was another music minded person, so of course I was intrigued. When I first pressed play, I couldn’t quite figure out what I felt. It was old school, but on the other hand – it was something entirely new. After that I went about my day, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the song I had listened to that morning. I did what anybody would do and gave it a few more listens, only to fall deep in love with the artist. Who was it? Texas crooner, Leon Bridges.
Since then, I’ve found myself listening to many of Bridges’ songs throughout each day. My particular track of choice is “Better Man” because it feels like a dose of sunshine wrapped in a retro pick me up that instantly soothes my spirits. There’s just some magical quality about it. The style in which Bridges works is soul, doo-wop, a bit of gospel, and a touch of 90s R&B all in one. Top it off with his voice that sounds silky to the eardrums and you’ve got a winning combination. There’s obvious influence of legendary musicians Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, but with Bridges own updated touch.
This week, Bridges is performing in his home state of Texas at SXSW (fingers crossed I find myself there next year) and is receiving quite the homecoming. He is landing at the top of multiple lists rounding up the most anticipated acts to see at the festival in 2015. Bridges is definitely a musician to keep an eye on. As the temperatures begin to rise, there’s no other music come summertime that fits the mood of the season as well as Bridges vintage renditions seem to.
There’s a simplicity to Bridges’ musical sound. Not much more than a guitar and drums are used in composing the backing track – there are no bells and whistles here. None of that is all surprising as Bridges himself is known for performing in basic white button downs and slacks on stage. Everything about the package Bridges presents is a remnant of an era gone, but it somehow works. Bridges has injected a known and loved style with his own dash of personality and flair that update the music for a new generation to devour. There’s nothing quite like it out there today. That uniqueness to Bridges formula is what might just set him apart from the crowd.
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“Better Man” and the rest of Bridges music are songs about love, and longing. The stuff we can all connect with, no matter the era.
What songs are getting you through this week?
P.S. – Another popular newcomer at SXSW is electro-pop artist Shura.
Until next time,