There’s a new rhythm and blues presence causing a stir in college music radio and it comes by way of singer, songwriter and guitarist, Leon Bridges, whose debut album, Coming Home, just hit airwaves to critical acclaim.

Bridges, who was born in Athens, Georgia and grew up in Texas, draws many comparisons to iconic soul musicians Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. In addition to his smooth voice, he can play guitar and write melodies that compare strikingly. The twenty-five year old cites these two rhythm and blues pioneers as some of his greatest influences.

One must listen no further than the lead off track, and top single of the album, titled, “Coming Home”, to understand why these comparisons are drawn. Bridges’ sound, and look, is that of a retro-soul artist that would make the late legends proud. This is, in part, due to a chance encounter he had with White Denim guitarist, Austin Jenkins, at a bar in Texas. 

The two discussed Bridges’ attire, who is known for performing in vintage clothing resembling that of the soul greats from the ‘50s and ‘60s. After seeing one of Bridges’ shows weeks later, Jenkins, along with White Denim drummer, Josh Block, decided to produce the first few tracks of what would eventually become his debut, full length album, Coming Home

The chance to produce another artist’s album is something the two White Denim members have been looking to do for quite some time. They knew they found their first project when they saw Bridges in action that night during his acoustic set. Jenkins said, “We’re doing it for the love of [his] music”.

In an empty Fort Worth warehouse, the trio decided to record Bridges’ album to tape, using vintage equipment provided by Block from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. They also brought in several talented, local musicians to work as a backup band for the recordings. Jenkins’ idea to use the retro gear appealed greatly to the young Bridges. He knew that his musical idols, such as Redding and Cooke, used similar equipment in their heyday. “I love [the] vision to get the tracks sounding exactly like they came out in the ‘50s and ‘60s,” said Bridges. 

This combination of raw talent, indie rock band supporters and vintage recording equipment, will surely translate into much success for the rhythm and blues musician, Leon Bridges. The summer of 2015 already has him playing shows and festivals across Europe and North America. Chances are, he will be performing in a venue near you soon.