Nope, it wasn't recorded in the 1950s. Leon Bridges opens his debut album, Coming Home, with the title track full of simple doo-wop rhythms and spotlighting the singer's soulful vocal tones. It immediately harkens back to a golden age of music that featured the likes of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding.
Coming Home presents a few sides of Bridges — from the slow and soulful to the upbeat, body movin' — showing the 25-year-old is truly an old soul. My only complaint is that same fact: he's a bit too focused on paying tribute to the past without ever really looking forward or giving himself a broader identity.
Within the 10 songs, which clock in around 35 minutes total, there isn't a hiccup or speed bump. It's a solid play from start to finish that goes down smoothly — the right horn flourishes here, the right backup harmonies there. They could throw this on the Sirius/XM '50s channel and no one would call to complain.
There's a lo-fi quality throughout that helps set the right tone — and there will undoubtedly be plenty of people saying he's a retro act or copying the past. So be it. If you can recreate a well-loved sound and style from the past and do it really well, go for it. It's working for countless bands in the soul revival — see St. Paul and the Broken Bones — why shouldn't it work for others. Perhaps it's a backlash against over-produced and auto-tuned bullshit that's clogged airwaves for years. Regardless, I'll take it.
Add this one to the growing list of potential best albums of 2015. It's no surprise that he's currently selling out concerts all over the country.