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Leon Bridges Bringing Back Old School Soul

06/29/2015
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(Radio.com) Leon Bridges has been compared to soul greats like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, and with good reason. From the moment the 25-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas opens his mouth he effortlessly exudes the spirit of '50s and '60s R&B and soul music, while still managing to put his own personal spin on the throwback style.

A lot of this stems from the personal stories he's telling on his debut, Coming Home, many of which are about his own family. The doo-wop flavored "Twistin' & Groovin'," which sounds like something from American Bandstand, was written about his grandparents, while the Temptations-esque "Brown Skin Girl" is about the very first time he saw a former girlfriend at a bar.

"All of them are honest songs," Bridges tells Radio.com. "Of course, I can't always write a song from personal experience. If I waited on that I probably wouldn't have any songs. A lot of times it's me trying to paint a picture."

On "Lisa Sawyer," Bridges tells his mother's life story, detailing her circa 1963 birth in New Orleans, Louisiana with help from a saxophone and a girl group in just a little over four minutes.

The biographical song continues with him sweetly singing about how she grew up without much money but was "filthy rich with wealth" because of all the love she had in her life from her mom, dad, six older siblings and Christ.

When Bridges played the song for his mother she broke into tears. "It really was a shock to her because she didn't know I was a songwriter," he says softly over the phone. "So when I first showed her it really blew her away."

Bridges mom's shock is warranted, being that her son was working as a dishwasher at the local Fort Worth restaurant Del Frisco's Grille and seemed uninterested in singing for other people. Unbeknownst to her, he was spending his hours outside of work writing songs.

Having gone to college to study dance, Bridges' passion quickly changed to music after jamming with a friend, but he soon realized he wanted to be a solo act. "Eventually I grew tired of depending on him and other people to be creative," Bridges says. "I set out and started writing my own songs and bought a guitar." Read more here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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