The first time you hear a Leon Bridges song, it’s hard to figure out whether or not you’re hearing a classic soul hit that’s just been hidden from you all these years. But the more you listen to Bridges, the more you learn that his voice is a gem of it’s own. Bridges made his debut on Austin City Limits Thursday night and the crowd was buzzing with excitement as they filled the room. Bridges, accompanied by a full band including White Denim’s Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block, started the show off with a slow one. He set the mood just right before turning up the volume with “Flowers,” a track that anyone could get down to. During their next song “Brown Skin Girl,” it was obvious how beautifully background vocalist Brittni Jessie completed Bridges’ voice.
Throughout the 16-song set, Bridges made you wish you were in a large dance hall, holding your lover closely while you sway to his soothing voice. The transitions between faster, dance tunes like “Out Of Line” to the dreamy, ballad that tells the story of Bridges’ mother “Lisa Sawyer,” were executed perfectly. Bridges plus band left the stage for a quick pause right about the hour-mark of the set and came back to finish the show off with a two-song encore. As he brought everyone to their feet to dance along, Bridges closed out the night with “Mississippi Kisses.” He even came out to the floor to shake it with his fans, and the crowd cheered even louder. Bridges brought soul to Austin last night.
Bridges is currently on tour in support of his debut album, Coming Home. Make sure to check out his episode when it airs next season.
* Live photos courtesy of KLRU. All photos below by Scott Newton.