Leon Bridges, who comes to Cincinnati on May 6, is the answer to every surly soul in the world who has ever lamented that “they just don’t make music like they used to anymore.”
Bridges’ warm version of R&B and Soul feels straight out of the 1960s while still being firmly planted in the modern world. There’s not a song on his most recent album, Gold Diggers Sound, that won’t make you feel. Last year’s “Why Don’t You Touch Me: Part 2” is both lyrically and musically emotional. It’s impossible to get through even the first verse and chorus without sinking back into your seat and riding a wave of insecurity and sadness. You don’t have to have been in a faltering relationship to understand the sentiment, but it certainly helps.
And then, of course, there’s the amazing stuff he’s released with Psych-Soul band Khruangbin, albums Texas Sun and Texas Moon. Bridges brings the emotion that often feels missing from Khruangbin’s music (Don’t @ me). Meanwhile, they offer a summery surf sound that we might never have known Bridges needed until they got together. Texas Sun was released in early 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic started, while Texas Moon came out earlier this year. Like two bookends, they each serve a purpose in their placement. But while Texas Sun is the perfect album for floating around in your above ground pool until you’re burnt to a crisp, Texas Moon is what you spin when your lover is spreading the chilled aloe onto your back. It’s cooler, cleaner and a little sexier.
Bridges is bringing all those throwback sounds and warm vibes to Cincinnati and, quite honestly, there doesn’t seem like a better way to kick off summer.
Bridges will perform May 6 at the Andrew J. Brady Music Center. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $59.50. More info: bradymusiccenter.com.
Below, watch Bridges in the video for "Chocolate Hills" with Khruangbin.