DNA: Sam Cooke and Male Version of Amy Winehouse’s Retro Vocal Style
Leon Bridges’ “Coming Home” is one of the finest albums I’ve heard in the last five years. Much like Amy Winehouse, who artfully paid homage to female singers of the 60s, Leon Bridges grabs us willingly back several of decades. Make no mistake, Bridges isn’t a gimmick act. The whole presentation of this album is an excellent showcase of Bridges’ songwriting and vocals. It’s hard to believe that he is merely 26-years-old because his voice is so strong yet nuanced.
The album isn’t that long, but that’s okay. There’s a good mix of gospel, R&B, soul, and pop on “Coming Home.” It’s packed beginning to end with one good song after the next. “Lisa Sawyer” is one of the album’s best songs; it’s also an excellent introduction to Bridges’ songwriting and vocal phrasings. Bridges works hard to tell a story about his mother, using phrasings that are complex and rarely heard in songs these days. The album’s opening song — “Coming Home” — sets the mood and sounds as if the song has been around with other soul favorites for the last 40 years.
I suggest listening to the album start-to-finish; it clocks in at around 40 minutes. Highlights include “Smooth Sailin’,” which is vocally and lyrically one of the finest pop songs you can find in recent years. “Flowers” is also a notable song, which features an uptempo backbeat and pop song style.
My guess is that Leon Bridges is just as good live as he is a recorded musician. He makes things sound effortless. “Coming Home” and Leon Bridges are too good to think his retro-60s sound is a gimmick. “Coming Home” is pure goodness, leaving you wanting more.
On a scale of 1 (Boss Hog) to 10 (Roscoe P. Coltrane), “Coming Home” is a 10 (Roscoe P. Coltrane)