Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges

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About Leon Bridges

The sounds of ’60s soul came back in a big way in the 21st century, as artists like Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones, and Mark Ronson updated classic crowd-pleasing Motown and Stax aesthetics with extra sass and brass. But with his Grammy-nominated 2015 debut Coming Home, Fort Worth, Texas, native Leon Bridges (born in 1989) reclaimed soul music as a deeply personal, humbling art form that nods to the music’s roots in small-town churches and sock hops. Backed by members of Austin indie band White Denim, Bridges’ bracing performances on the lonesome, tambourine-rattled hymn “River” and the ’50s prom slow-dance sway of the title track conjured vivid images of 45s spinning on jukeboxes in empty roadhouse diners at closing time. But for all his seeming retro fetishism, Bridges has deftly navigated the world of modern pop, guesting on tracks by rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and wooing crowds opening shows for Harry Styles and Pharrell Williams. And on his 2018 sophomore effort Good Thing, he sashayed onto contemporary club dance floors via the sultry acid-jazz shimmer of “Bad Bad News” and the frisky funk of “If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be).” As he told Apple Music at the time, “I didn’t want to put myself in a hole and make the same thing for the rest of my career. It was all about moving forward.” But for Bridges, moving forward is not some linear journey toward chart-topping success: Hooking up with Houston band Khruangbin for 2020’s Texas Sun EP, he dressed up his romantic croon in cosmic cowbell grooves and psychedelic twang, proving that soul music is wherever your heart takes you.

United States of America
July 13, 1989

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