Leon Bridges of Ft. Worth, Texas, is one of the best things going right now in American music. His throwback R&B, his classy demeanor, his generous charisma, his excellence in singing, his subtle innovations in truly American forms — why, this just the kind of thing this polarized country needs.
The young man has a fan in me.
I was born in 1978. Anyone born in the thirty years preceding that year will have an instant connection with the songs of Leon Bridges; anyone born in the succeeding ten will have an instant connection to the nostalgia for those earlier years which Bridges exemplifies. The 80s through mid-90s were, probably, the years most nostalgic for the late 50s and 60s.
What all that yearly babble is intended to say is this: that his guy Leon Bridges can play an updated version of a style of music that everyone thinks they know, but maybe they really don’t. Maybe it took Leon Bridges to re-awaken it.
Bridges is capable of blues tunes of superbly tight construction. “Flowers.”
He is capable of more moody climactic bluesy songs. “Coming Home.”
He is capable of masterful straight-up R&B love songs. “Better Man.” “Twistin’ & Groovin.”
I can’t wait to see what else this talented young man might supply to the Americana canon.
Below is a little concert that Bridges performed for National Public Radio a year or so ago. Keep in mind that this concert was purely acoustic while his normal sound has a great dancing beat to it.