Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
Leon Bridges is a throwback act. He saw the road paved by Sam Cooke and Otis Redding and, instead of moving forward musically, took that road all the way back to the 1960s. But while he isn’t pioneering any new territory, Bridges easily transcends the domain of novelty with his convincing songwriting and undeniable talent. Coming Home’s commitment to old school production makes the crooner’s debut sound like a vinyl record that’s been gathering dust for years in a thrift shop window, yet the effortless melody of “Better Man” and the infectious swing of “Smooth Sailin’” sound just as relevant today as they would have in decades past. In “Lisa Sawyer”—the album’s doo-wop centerpiece—Bridges’s heartfelt, richly detailed montage of his mother’s upbringing investigates his own connection to the time period his music emulates. Coming Home definitely stands on the shoulders of giants, but Leon Bridges’s musical prowess stands on its own.