Album of the Week: Leon Bridges, 'Good Thing'

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Leon Bridges, 'Good Thing'
Leon Bridges, 'Good Thing' (Courtesy of artist)
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It took one show for me to turn into a fan after I witnessed Leon Bridges open for Lord Huron at First Avenue three years ago. He wasn't far removed from his day job washing dishes at a Mexican restaurant in Ft. Worth, TX. Bridges can combine retro soul and gospel with ease and has that "sweet as honey" voice that sometimes resembles Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, or Curtis Mayfield. His first album Coming Home is still in my go-to pile.

I was a little nervous about album number two. I hoped he wouldn't totally ditch the sound that had gotten him that far. I hoped he wouldn't bring in the songwriting doctors and hotshot producers who were only after their next top 40 hit. He already showed that he was eager to branch out by appearing on the ODESZA track "Across the Room," with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on another, and dueting with Kacey Musgraves on her Christmas album.

The new album, Good Thing, is ambitious, bouncing all over the place musically, but in a very good way. Leon shows he is more than just a great singer. He sounds like a man on a mission to make a great album, and I think he reached his goal.

The first tune, "Bet Ain't Worth the Hand" is full of lush strings and bells, showcasing Bridges' gorgeous falsetto and immaculate vocal range, hinting at Smokey Robinson. The second track "Bad Bad News" is a highlight. I hear elements of trip-hop and jazz with a Wes Montgomery styled guitar part. You'll be chanting "All Day All Night" right along with Leon.

There is a ton of great stuff on the new record. "If It Feels Good, Then It Must Be," features a funky groovy vibe, almost in a Sly & Family Stone mode. "Beyond," shows hints of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic." This is a such a sweet love song as Bridges sings, "I'm scared to death that she might be it / That the love is real, that the shoe might fit."

It's clear that the sound I love is still a huge part of Leon Bridges repertoire. My nerves have been calmed. Good Thing is certainly no sophomore slump, Bridges shows ambition beyond being a retro soul singer. This might be a full on masterpiece.

Resources


Leon Bridges - Official Site

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