The present tense of Leon Bridges

I’ve kinda fallen in love with this song after a bit of a courtship, having heard it repeatedly this past week on too-frequent trips to Starbucks:

“River” by Leon Bridges, from the album Coming Home.

It’s arguably his best performance. “Smooth Sailin'” is pretty cool, too, with a deliberately hyped retro production sound that defines the whole album and here it pointedly fingerprints its impression by opting deliberately for grit rather than laying out every pristine detail.

PlayThere’s a healthy influence of Sam Cooke on Bridges and similarities in delivery—the slight rising and falling slopes and curves of the notes—that he shares with Harry Connick Jr. and even a pinch of James Taylor, at least to my ears. An echo of a singer whom I can’t quite put my finger on still gnaws at me…somehow Johnny Rivers singing “Summer Rain” was my first association, but not quite, and then Sixto “Sugar Man” Rodriguez occurred to me…so I’ll have to revisit this. See if you agree by listening to this mix. 

 

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