You can trust a man with a name like Bridges to know a thing or two about the emotional and symbolic resonance of rivers.
The steady, unbroken flow of water, gradually smoothing all jagged edges, cutting deep, canyons in the hardest earth, is a reoccurring musical theme as old as the American songbook itself. “Oh Shenandoah“, “Ol’ Man River“, “Bridge Over Troubled Water“– generations of folksingers have found inspiration in our country’s vast network of meandering waterways. Now, with his newly released (and aptly-titled) track, “River”, Leon Bridges adds his own, soulful contribution to this American tradition.
Bridges, who first garnered widespread attention earlier this year with his debut track, “Coming Home“, channels R&B greats of the sixties with his smooth, methodical croon, backed by a gospel-like choir, earning rightful comparisons to Sam Cooke. This is less by music writers searching for a shortcut to describing his sound than by Bridges’ own design; the 25-year-old from Fort Worth’s burgeoning music scene maintains a vintage style in both dress and production, choosing to be portrayed in black-and-white in music videos and press stills.
Bridges, relatively new to performing –with only about five years of guitar under his belt and a handful of tracks available online– now enjoys a sudden ascension in the realm of popular music, bolstered by this latest track’s prominence in a new, two-minute-long commercial for Beats by Dre, featuring Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Mariota, and premiering as Mariota participated in the 2015 NFL Draft, ultimately going second overall to the Tennesee Titans.
It is our Geek Track of the Day.