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CULTURE | 09.03.2016

Playlist: River by Leon Bridges

“Wise beyond his (or her) years” is what we call a singer whose voice and interpretation sounds as experienced and mature as that of the idols he emulates. Amy Winehouse, for example, Adele, and Bruno Mars can be called such. And ever since his debut album “Coming Home” from last summer, 26-year-old Texas native Leon Bridges also deserves this description.

The young singer and guitarist’s style has been called “Retro-Soul”, but this designation says little about this exceptional talent, whose songs are reminiscent of icons like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, the greatest soul music of the 1950s and 1960s. Smooth, sad, heartbreaking. And his new song “River” is along the same lines:

Been traveling these wide roads for so long
My heart’s been far from you
Ten-thousand miles gone

That sounds wonderfully melancholic yet hopeful. After all, distances are there to be overcome. The song expresses momentary sadness, for sure, but also the steadfast hope that the distance can be overcome by the lover, that a reunion is possible.

Leon Bridges, who is based in Atlanta, remains modest despite his immense success: “I’m not saying I can hold a candle to any soul musician from the ‘50s and ‘60s, but I want to carry their torch.”

For more about Leon Bridges, please visit his website.