Top to bottom Soul
As of late, how often does it happen that you stumble across an album that every song, top to bottom, is really good? I'm sure that a lot of us here can name a bunch from the 60's, 70's and the 80's that fit the bill. Music nowadays seems more disposable than it ever has been and it has become increasingly difficult to find an album that you can play till the finish and enjoy every track. Leon Bridges album, Coming Home, is one of those albums.
Leon Bridges was born in Atlanta, Georgia but his upbringing in Fort Worth Texas is where he honed his musical chops teaching himself how to play the guitar. Playing countless open mics he drew the attention of guitarist Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block from the group White Denim. Jenkins and Block then got together with Bridges to record some tracks using 'old school' equipment to give it a certain vibe. On the strength of some of those songs being played on Soundcloud and some local radio stations Columbia Records came knocking and a record deal was set in motion.
The album came to my attention at work when my brother had already picked up the album and had it playing. Immediately I was hooked to the vocals of Bridges. “Who is this?” I asked. My brother just handed me the cd and I knew I had to pick one up for myself. The vibe was immediate and nostalgic. Columbia is the record label and the packaging has a retro vibe that sends you back to the 60's which warmed my soul right off the bat. I pulled up the first video for the album which is also called “Coming Home” Shot in black and white, the video shows us the recording studio, an AMPEX reel to reel, and Leon and his lady getting together. This would be the kind of video we may have seen in the 60's if they had them at that time. And the song is fantastic.
The album is timeless. Drop it in the late 50's, 60's or any decade since and it would fit nicely because the music is not defined by the era it was conceived in. Some of the tracks include “Twistin and Groovin” featuring a mean slide, “Better Man” with the nod to do wop and Smokey, “Lisa Sawyer” and that cool sax line and the album closer “River” feels like I'm sitting in church, the sermon is this song and I'm asking for forgiveness from the lord.
In my darkness I remember
Momma's words reoccur to me
"Surrender to the good Lord
And he'll wipe your slate clean"
Seek and you shall find an album with an embarrassment of riches fueled by rhythm and blues and wrapped up in soul. Praise Jesus, there are some really good albums out there.