5 Essential Tracks : Leon Bridges

5 Essential Tracks : Leon Bridges

A breath of fresh, classic, air...
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Leon Bridges can only be described as a rarity. There is simply no one else like him on the music scene right now. His soulful, vintage, sound is reminiscent of some of the greats. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Bridges has a background not only in Soul, but in American Gospel. Bridges came from a broken home, his parents separated when he was 7 and he spent most of his early childhood with his father. In article for Billboard, Bridges describes his childhood as "isolated" and recalls studying dance, and eventually, singing and guitar. But it was after he took a job bussing tables that he met guitarist Austin Jenkins, who would not only inspire him to find his muse, but would go on to be a co-producer on Bridges' first album Coming Home. - which picked up a Grammy nomination. Leon Bridges' music manages to straddle the line between classic and fresh. While his style and sound are a throwback to the '50s and '60s his passion and lyrics are new and exciting. I was lucky enough to get to see Bridges at the Murat Theater in downtown Indianapolis this summer, and something that makes him so unique is that he's not just a singer, he's a performer. The sets are like something out of the past, the big band,... it was one of the best live shows I've ever seen. His sound, some would call dated, I prefer to call it classic, so I've narrowed this list down to what I feel are his strongest tracks.

Above : Leon Bridges playing the Murat Theater in Downtown Indianapolis this summer

1. RIVER

"Tip me in your smooth waters.
I go in as a man with many crimes.


Come up for air as my sins flow down the Jordan"

River is one of Bridges, slower, more melancholy songs. And the video captures exactly that. Released on his debut album Coming Home, Bridges sings of regret and sins, while holding out hope for atonement and a chance at redemption. The music video is as vivid, pure and powerful as the lyrics, feeling a bit like a short film. This is also one of Bridges' biggest songs, just recently having been featured on the soundtrack for HBO's hit Big Little Lies.

2. COMING HOME

"Baby, how I'd be grieving
If you wanted to leave me all alone now
By myself, I don't want nobody else"

The title track, from his debut album Coming Home, this song is basic Leon Bridges, as is the video, - featured above. Like so much of his music, this song flows perfectly and has such a timeless quality to it. The video is done in simple black and white, providing a classic look to a simple video.

3. PULL AWAY


My pillow bears a tear of a man in pain
Our love, I thought I could sustain
Don't worry about me anymore
Cause I'll be gone by the morning time


This romantic track is one of my personal favorites, Pull Away is a soulful, ballad. that you can't help but want to sway to. Bridge's steady croon is accentuated by talented backup vocalist Brittni Jesse, who's sultry sounding voice can be heard on some of Bridges' best tracks.

4. BROWN SKIN GIRL


Brown skin girl with the white pearls 'round her neck
Brown skin girl, let me hold you close under the white moon
'Cause baby, I'm ready and you know that I'm waiting on you


Brown Skin Girl is another favorite of mine. You can't help but smile when you hear it. The lyrics may be sweet, but Bridge's voice is seductive and always reminds me of the great Sam Cooke when I hear it. It's classic ballad with just the right amount of rhythm, and an acoustic guitar if you can catch it, that never gets old.


5. BETTER MAN

What can I do? What can I do?
To get back to your heart
I'd swim the Mississippi river
If you would give me another start, girl



I couldn't close this list without Better Man, which is also featured on Coming Home, is an upbeat crowd-favorite of Bridges'. The beat has a sway to it, and like in Pull Away, the background vocals as well as the saxophone add a whole new layer to the song. Like I said before, this is a fan-favorite song, when they did this on stage in Indianapolis, - which sounded incredible live by the way, Better Man had the audience on our feet.

BONUS : Leon Bridges doing a cover of Pony by Ginuwine on stage in Houston.


Cover Image Credit: Beau Grealy

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

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Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

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There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

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I Didn't Choose To Be A Dance Major, It Chose Me

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I don't remember the exact moment, but I do remember the process. I remember moments in time and the way joy has manifested itself into my life. Perhaps this is the meaning of life—a slow growing journey of finding yourself through experiences and delightfully long conversations with people we care about, long nights filled with laughter, early mornings with dew beneath our toes, waves of utter joy, followed by waves of somber; it's all just part of it. And within these waves and moments of our lives, we begin to see with clarity—a slow but steady process. Clarity occurs when the fog is lifted. It's when you find that thing you're passionate about, and you do it relentlessly. This is the art of becoming.

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I have not chosen to become a dancer, but inevitably dance has so gracefully chosen me. And with great appreciation, I've accepted the invitation. I've since made the mindful choice to immerse myself in this art form, because to me this is how joy has chosen to manifest itself in my life. Through movement, and love of music, and love of creating, this is how I've chosen joy.

It recently dawned on me that dance is what we as humans use to declare our vitality. It's an appreciation of being alive. And more so, it's a celebration: of being alive, of our bodies, of human contact, but mostly just of life. We as humans dance to celebrate life.

So with this joy that I've been so lucky to find, I am compelled to study dance. And not just take classes, and not just take notes, but to really study—to really understand what it means to be alive, and to feel gratitude for every ounce of my life.

This is why I'm a dance major.

So before you question me, and perhaps tell me that my major is useless or is not setting me up for a successful life, maybe consider that I've chosen a life of joy. I've chosen to be passionate and throw myself into gaining a greater kinesthetic awareness, a more profound appreciation for music, and for art, and for culture, and just life in general.

I have chosen to celebrate my life, and celebrate what my body allows me to do every day. And through my choices, I've begun to master the art of becoming.

Author's note: The theme of "becoming" was subconsciously inspired by Michelle Obama.

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