With a sound and aesthetic reverentially steeped in the warm glow of retro-flavored soul, 26 year-old Texas-bred crooner Leon Bridges is one of the most acclaimed new singer-songwriters to emerge within the past few years. He has also proven to be one of the most divisive among critics and fans alike.
While some have unfairly labeled his songs as unabashedly derivative and lacking in originality, you’d be hard-pressed to find many R&B artists working today that don’t infuse some modicum of vintage soul within their music. Propelled by a balanced mix of earnest doo-wop ballads, melodic gospel hymns, and gently swinging-and-swaying jams, Bridges’ meticulously crafted debut LP Coming Home does indeed evoke the soul legends of fifty-five years ago, most notably his musical hero, Sam Cooke. And to our ears, it sounds divine.
Bridges and his dynamite band recently stormed the Austin City Limits stage to perform a handful of songs from Coming Home, including “Better Man,” “Brown Skin Girl,” “River,” “Smooth Sailin,’” and “Shine.” The setlist also included newly unveiled album outtake “Mississippi Kisses,” which features on the recently released deluxe version of Coming Home.
Enjoy Leon Bridges’ Austin City Limits performance below—which precedes a performance by the Denver-based, genre-bending band Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats—through March 5th. Plus, check out the bonus web-only exclusive performance of “Twistin’ and Groovin.’”