Leon Bridges - Gold Diggers Sound

Regular price $ 29.99

One doesn't have to be all that familiar with Leon Bridges to speculate with accuracy that the artist's third album, named after the East Hollywood facility where it was made, has nothing to do with mining for instant pop hits. It's coincidental and maybe a little ironic that, just before the release of Gold-Diggers Sound, Bridges collected gold and platinum RIAA plaques for singles off his 2015 debut, but that's emblematic of the singer's knack for creating ephemerality-proof R&B that offers a true alternative to what's favored by urban contemporary radio programmers, yet structurally and sonically rooted in tradition. Gold-Diggers Sound is actually Bridges' most modern-sounding album. The singer and songwriter stretches out with producers and instrumentalists Ricky Reed and Nate Mercereau, his main collaborators on Good Thing, and he brings in an all-star lineup of progressive jazz and R&B musicians. "Born Again" sets the tone with the keyboards of Robert Glasper and brass and reeds from Keyon Harrold and Terrace Martin adding to weary if resolute sentiments like "Feeling joy again/When all else fails, your love will last forever," where Bridges faintly slurs his notes like he's a saxophonist himself. Harrold and Martin later re-appear -- the alto sax of the latter most prominently brings color to the machine-drum pulse of "Sweetness," a touching and personal ballad written in response to the murder of George Floyd. Synth-soul duo We Are King, secret weapon Atia "Ink" Boggs, and percussionist Carlos Niño, among a great number of other musicians, add to a sense of communality. Bridges' writing, however, tends to be as intimate as ever. "Motorbike" envisions a joy ride for two rendered in slow, daydream-like motion. Bridges is enamored in "Details," rustic soul-blues with a touch of Philly sitar and some thump in the low end. "Why Don't You Touch Me" seeks resolution, or just a reaction, with a sluggish sway. Only on a couple occasions does Bridges let loose a touch while in the moment. "Sho Nuff" is yet another ballad, but one full of affection and desire through its Southern groove. "Steam," all easy-rolling romantic escapism, picks up the tempo a bit with a fine threading of blues, funk, and candied background vocals. Even in those moments, there is never an indication that Bridges could possibly lose his composure. The unswerving self-control he has demonstrated across three albums both impresses and mystifies.

1 Born Again 3:43
     feat. Robert Glasper
2 Motorbike 3:08
3 Steam 3:23
4 Why Don’t You Touch Me 3:17
5 Magnolias 3:22
6 Gold-Diggers (Junior’s Fanfare) 0:41
7 Details 3:16
8 Sho Nuff 3:07
9 Sweeter 2:48
     feat. Terrace Martin
10 Don’t Worry 6:41
     feat. Ink
11 Blue Mesas 3:15