Leon Bridges’ debut album, Coming Home, won’t be released until June 23. Lucky for us, though, another tune off the album has been released, “Smooth Sailin’.” This comes less than a month after Bridges dropped “The River.”
When “The River” was released, I was foolish enough to write this:
We’ve heard four songs from Bridges’ upcoming album, so I imagine that “River” is the last track we’ll hear off of Coming Home before its release.
With “Smooth Sailin’,” that makes five songs from Coming Home already out. Five out of 10. Geez, Leon. It’s not as if we need less of an excuse to buy albums these days.
I love Leon Bridges, love everything he’s done, love how he somehow appeared onstage at the end of this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to lend vocals to a Ringo Starr-led “With a Little Help From My Friends.” That’s our friend Leon grooving behind Miley Cyrus and her wonderful t-shirt-and-moon-boots ensemble. Bridges will own the latter half of this summer, no doubt about that.
Be that as it may, I think we need to at least question the thinking behind pre-releasing half of your debut album. Three songs max seems like a sound strategy, and four is fair enough. Five, though? I’d be curious to know the thinking behind this plan of action. Maybe, with everyone recording and uploading live shows now, the thinking is that we’re already hearing these songs, so we might as well get the official version? A quick YouTube search of “Leon Bridges Smooth Sailin'” produces three different live versions of the track. A secret can’t be a secret if everyone is already hip to what’s going on. Perhaps Bridges and his team are just accepting the new world we live in?
As for “Smooth Sailin’,” it’s another great song. It has a little more bite to it than the other songs we’ve heard so far. The sax sounds delightfully dirty and raw, while Bridges has a swagger to his vocals that tip-toe along the line separating defiance and pleasantries.
Bridges is setting up something big, but maybe he should heed the saying, “Leave them wanting more.”