In Next Big Thing, we give you a snapshot of an artist we think will be … well, you get it.
If you listen carefully, you can hear the buzz building, the calls to attention, and the urging of people you trust growing. It’s about Leon Bridges, who released the song “River” today. It’s the latest in a series of single drops from Bridges, as momentum has steadily gathered behind him.
Here’s what you need to know about a man who’s about to be a lot more famous in the near future…
Leon Bridges is a 27-year-old soul singer, who was washing dishes at a Texas restaurant less than two years ago. Today, he has nearly 40 record labels bidding for his services. His debut album, Coming Home, is slated for release by Columbia Records on June 23.
What We’ve Heard So Far:
- “Coming Home” is straight out of the Sam Cooke playbook; sharp guitar hits, a summer breeze swing and some smooth, lull-you-to-sleep harmonies, all capped off by Bridges’ delightful old school vocals.
- “Better Man” is a tune full of energy and good feelings.
- “Lisa Sawyer” is slightly more mellow tune than the first two songs. It’s the kind of soul tune that aches and creaks in pain. A saxophone weaves in and out of Bridges impassioned vocals.
And now, “River,” which debuted last night in a new Beats by Dre commercial for the NFL draft. I’ve listened to the song multiple times. It’s yet to soften it’s effect on me; it might make you cry.
“River” is largely Bridges’ voice, a lightly strummed acoustic guitar, a tambourine keeping time and gospel-tinged backing vocals. It’s a haunting song, beautiful and elegant. “River” is a song that implores you to sit back and take some time to reflect. It’s wistful and full of longing. It’s beautiful.
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. But the teases have done a great job creating a powerful ground swell of enthusiasm and anticpation for Bridges’ debut album. Quite frankly, it can’t get hear soon enough.