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Published on Sep 8, 2015
September 08, 2015 by BOB BOILEN
We probably should have shot this Tiny Desk Concert in black-and-white. Listening to Leon Bridges, I hear a sound with its heart and soul rooted in 1962. There's purity in his voice that's unadorned, untouched and unaffected by 21st-century pop. It's just soul.
Still, the songs from this 26-year-old Fort Worth singer feel refreshing in the context of the day. Surely there's touches of Sam Cooke's spiritual sound, but Leon Bridges has a way of making the familiar feel adventurous and new. It may be because this is all new to him. He only picked up the guitar around the age of twenty and only began listening to classic soul music after friends told him he sounded like R&B musicians from long ago. What Leon Bridges has tapped into on his debut album with fellow Fort Worth musicians including Austin Jenkins from White Denim is a universal sound, an undeniably heartfelt sound which transcends age, race and musical tastes. He's easy to love and tough to resist and his performance at the Tiny Desk with his fabulous band is a testament to what it means to sing from the heart.
Credits Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Colin Marshall, Lani Milton; Assistant Producer: Elena Saavedra Buckley; photo by Lydia Thompson/NPR