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Coming Home (Deluxe)
Leon Bridges
      Coming Home
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      Coming Home (Live from Lightning 100 2015)
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      Better Man
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Narratives(3)

Jun 04, 2019

The Path To Success Of The Fort Worth Millennial With An Old Soul.

Todd Michael “Leon” Bridges is arguably one of the most soulful singers of our time. The Texas artist released his debut album Coming home on the 23rd of June 2015. Coming home pays homage to great soul singers like Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and has a strong Sam Cooke influence. The album can pass for a 60s R&B classic. Bridges is referred to as an artist who is “comfortable living in the past”. It is surprising to find a young man who grew up in the ‘90s making music that transcends his era. He was a shy kid who was too insecure to audition for the church choir. After his parents separated at 7, he started to feel lost in the world. He felt alone even though at some point he lived with over 10 of his relatives. He grew up poor and he often felt like no one wanted to befriend him. He quickly learnt to drown his pain in music but not soul music, hip hop and R&B with his favourites being Usher and Genuwine. His rise to fame started with the release of his first official single “Coming Home” which is the title track of the album. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia but was raised in Fort Worth, Texas. While growing up he performed at talent shows and open mics, and he played the guitar to accompany his performances. He struggled to make ends meet as he worked two jobs, one cleaning tables and the other, washing dishes. He lived with his mother and worked hard to support the family after she lost her job. While performing his songs written in a in 1950s and 60s soul music style, he met Joshua Block and Austin Jenkins from the rock band White Denim. He caught their eye while performing “Coming Home” to a crowd of just 5 people, and they produced the album with vintage equipment. This was probably responsible for creating the unique old skool sound of the album. Coming Home was nominated for a Grammy in the best R&B album category. It debuted at number 6 on the Billboard 200 chart and it had positive reviews with critics. It takes you back 55 years on a trip to the start of soul music. Though he is often celebrated for keeping the classical genre alive, he is also criticised for being a “Nostalgia act” because he makes great 60s R&B music but he did not add his unique spin to it. His debut album gave you a feel of Bridges soul but he reminded us a little too much of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. Some critics also disagree with the notion of him being a nostalgia act. Ryan Patrick of Exclaim said “this is not just a nostalgia act; this music is coming from the soul”. The album received favourable ratings; Pitchfork rated it a 7/10 and the Rolling Stone gave it a 4.5/5 rating. The album gave Leon Bridges his fast track to fame. His personal style also seems like a marketing strategy but Bridges swears it is not. His mother’s friends passed down some of his old clothes to him while he was a teenager. Since then Bridges has been wearing vintage 1950s-60s style clothing.

Written by @OBP from Omobaba Pension
May 24, 2019

Leon Bridges establishes a connection with the present through a mature, polished soul and R&B sound

Leon Bridges, the twenty nine year old American soul singer, songwriter and record producer released his second studio album Good Thing in May 2018 through Columbia Records. The album was recorded in four different studios across California, Texas and North Carolina. The music in this album portrays a connection between the present and the classic soul and R&B Music – which created a more polished and modern form of soul music. There is a total of ten tracks in this album that runs for an approximate time length of thirty five minutes. Leon Bridges co-wrote almost all the songs in this album along with other songwriters. The album mostly received positive reviews from the music critics and listeners, with a decent overall rating of 74 out of 100 on Metacritic. Newspapers like The Guardian and The Independent, and online music magazines like NME and AllMusic rated the album 4 out of 5 stars. Rolling Stone rated it 3.5 out of 5 stars and stated that the album is a “Uniquely Modern Vision of Classic Soul” and Leon Bridges is “looking for a future sound that connects his own past and the sweeping history of African-American music with the present moment”. The Canadian music magazine Exclaim! provided an excellent rating of 8 out of 10 mentioning the album as a “super-tight, 35-minute ride”. Pitchfork and Paste also provided good ratings of 7.2 and 6.7 out of 10 respectively. DJBooth described this album as more mature and forward thinking than his last album Coming Home. However, there were some mixed reviews as well from Siant Magazine and The Observer which rated the album 3 out of 5 stars. The album received significant commercial success and was featured in many music charts across the world. It debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200. It was also nominated for the best R&B album at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. The first track of the album "Bet Ain't Worth the Hand" which was released as a single earlier in March 2018, won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance.

Written by @Soulbyweekly from SoulByweekly
May 24, 2019

Exploring New Avenues

Leon Bridges is arguably one of the most soulful singers of our time. The Texas born artiste’s debut album 2015’s Coming Home paid homage to great soul singers like Otis Redding and had a strong Sam Cooke influence. The album could pass for a 60s R&B classic. He is often referred to as an artist who is comfortable living in the past. It is surprising to find a young man who grew up in the ‘90s making music that transcends his era. Though he is often celebrated for keeping the classical genre alive, he is also criticized for being a Nostalgia act. He made a great 60s R&B music but he did not add his unique spin to it. Coming Home gave you a feel of Leon Bridges soul but he reminded us a little too much of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. On his sophomore album Good Thing he managed to break out of the box people put him in. He showed more versatility and proved he was able to broaden his horizons. Though the album is still considered retro, it has more of a funky upbeat sound. In his 2018 interview with Faceculture, Bridges expressed that though he was flattered by the comparison people made to him and legendary soul musicians, he felt like it wasn’t fair to him as an artist to be pigeonholed to a particular sound. He said “creating that 60s R&B sound for the rest of my career would have put me in this whole zone of being a novelty act”. Teaming up with pop producer Ricky Reed who has worked with artists like Jason Derulo and Maroon 5, helped to create more eclectic sound. Unlike Coming Home that had a strict 60s vibe, there is more of a 70s, 80s and 90s feel to Good Thing. Reed, who was a co-writer on the album helped to create a more contemporary sound. Bridges expressed that he wanted Good thing to have more upbeat tunes that can be played on the dancefloor and he also wanted a wider range of people to listen and identify with his music. Breaking out of his comfort zone seems to be paying off, “Bet Ain’t Worth The Hand” won him his first Grammy for Best Traditional R&B performance with contenders such as PJ Morton’s How Deep Is Your Love, Bettye LaVette’s Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight, MAJOR’s Honest, and Charlie Wilson’s Made for Love, while “Bad, Bad News” landed a spot on Barack Obama’s best of 2018 list. “If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)” is a guitar heavy funky track that makes you want to dance and reminds you of the Euphoria that comes with falling in love.The song has a very youthful vibe and sounds very much like a Bruno Mars or Robin Thicke record. It has a strong 70s feel to it. Bad Bad News showed a combination of the soul, R&B, funk, jazz and blues genres. The instrumentals had an uptempo jazz feel to it and he sang with a blues style. Due to the unique blend of styles, this song can appeal to listeners across generations. It is the perfect mix of the old and the new school. “Lions” is a Neo-soul song on a hip hop beat with gospel chords playing on an organ in the background, this is perhaps the most unique song on the album. There is a lot going on with the instrumental. Though the lyrics are not as catchy or complex as most of the other songs on the album, the song still serves its purpose by providing an alternative sound to the album. “Bet Ain’t worth the Hand” was a vintage R&B classic and one of the most popular tracks on the album. Bridges pours his heart out on the ballad with a 1970s Chicago Orchestration. The song is about being in love and not being able to commit because of your current circumstances. The album covers a range of emotions from falling in love to getting heart broken then choosing to forgive and give your love a second chance. This is a young person’s love journal. Bridges definitely came out of his comfort zone and showed how flexible he really is. There was also an improvement in his songwriting skills and vocal ability. With his unique talent, the sky is definitely the limit for him. His fans are waiting to see what he will do next.

Written by @OBP from Omobaba Pension

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