(Photo Credit - Pooneh Ghana)
Advance Review - Khruangbin & Leon Bridges: Texas Sun (February 7, 2020)
My first personal encounter with Leon Bridges was when a dear friend of mine sent me “River” to listen to. With every listen I always imagine a place where we would meet again. Bridges would enter my repertoire of Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, and Bill Withers; music for my late nights or early mornings. When I’m up, they all have songs to fit my jovial spirit, but also when I’m down they have songs that touch my melancholy heart.
Bridges’ upcoming collaborative EP with Khruangbin is an unrivaled pairing of recent memory. Being that both hail from Texas, Fort Worth and Houston respectively, This album is all about going home, especially after both parties have spent quite some time touring their sophomore albums. The merging of the two leaves you vibrating with Bridges soulful lyrics and and the thoughtful instrumentals of Khruangbin. While Khruangbin has never written with a singer before, members Mark Speer and Laura Lee form a bond over their love for music from around the world. Settling back into Texas for a short while seemed easy for them.
The EP’s title track, “Texas Sun”, is just upbeat enough that you might miss the slight sadness that emanates in a sly potentness from Bridges. Sometimes going home makes you reminiscent of past times that reflect the good memories but also of loss. Either way, the Texas Sun stays the same. As Bridge sings “take a ride with me, babe, you by my side”, I can’t help but think of all those back road trips, having hailed from a small, Midwest town in the middle of nowhere.
The Pinnacle of the album is the last track, “Conversion”. This album's seven minute ballad shows great control by Speer on the guitar, almost making it sound like a synth, while Donald Ray “DJ” Johnson Junior keeps it slow and punctual, making me think of early Steely Dan. There never seems to be a rise or swell, it kind of just fades in and grips you while just all the while letting you down easy.
For any Vinyl Enthusiasts out there, be as bummed as me that the limited edition “Purple and Blue Nebula” release is also sold out and going to be an expensive find from here on out. There is, however, a wide release dropping 2/7. Buy or stream, check it out!
Rating - 5/5