Monthly Archives: June 2015

Building Musical Bridges Between Past And Present – Leon Bridges’ Soulful Coming Home

This is how it works…
I was at a My Morning Jacket show (Post from May 18, 2015). I met some new friends. One of them suggested I listen to Leon Bridges… and now here I am, smitten.

This is what it is…
Music is communal… and live shows and bands build a community. In a record shop… with a radio station and especially live… We are together in the dark… a bar, or theatre or huge concert hall… sharing intimate moments… dancing and grooving… laughing and singing… crying and opening up. Music is this… Music is everything.

I was able to immediately track down four singles that he had put out through Columbia Records: “Coming Home”, “Better Man”, “Lisa Sawyer” and “River.”

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Sam Cooke immediately came to mind… and that is only a good thing… I love Sam Cooke… those smooth, stunning and soulful vocals… You’ll also hear and long for some Otis Redding. Not because you need it, I like Leon just fine… but it makes you realize just how good that music was.

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Retro is back… What’s old is new… Just check out Alabama Shakes, Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings… so good.

Reviews will also mention his label mate Raphael Saadiq.  If the ’60s R&B is not your thing, then stroll on by. But if it is… Mmm… I think you will be digging on this one and Leon Bridges.

Leon Bridges – Coming Home

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Leon is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who, according to AllMusic: “performed in and around Fort Worth, Texas and stirred up music industry interest with analog recordings, produced by Justin Block and Austin Jenkins of White Denim, which were uploaded to his SoundCloud page.”

I dig the band White Denim… and that s a good story right there… You work hard… you make music… you get discovered. Rather old-fashioned, I’d say. Unlike today’s, Hey, let’s get on a reality show and have a career. Yuck… Mostly. There have been a few lasting artists, but that is rare.

AllMusic continues: “Bridges touches all the retro-soul bases. Each element of his ten-song, half-hour debut evokes early- to mid-’60s R&B: the song structures, the application of reverb, the dust-coated church organ, the doo wop background vocals, the horn charts that accent rather than dominate. Bridges sings of seeking salvation and taking trains, and he offers proposals as modest as “I won’t weigh you down.”… It’s all a pleasing time warp without turbulence, one with songs built more to evoke the past than to last in one’s memory.”

Mediocre review at best… and perhaps this won’t stick. With an iTunes library filled with music and shelves filled with CDs it takes a lot for me to really hit something over and over… and to have it lovingly linger. We’ll see how this one goes…

It’s mostly ballads, true… and would make a nice late night record, if you know what I mean… And it’s hard to think of anyone topping Sam or Otis or Wilson (as in Pickett)… There is a reason that their music is so timeless… why it endures.

This album might come across as derivative… and it does not stray much from the formula mentioned above… it does not really add a 2015 flair… but perhaps it doesn’t need to. The ’60s were rich with music and musical stylings… and this record fits right into that groove.

“Twistin’ & Groovin'” is my favorite track… I guess I’m a sucker for a saxophone. And since “Coming Home” was my introduction to Leon, and immediately got me thinking of Sam’s “Cupid” that one has stuck with me.

I dig this record. But let’s check back in a month and see if it’s still in rotation. With so much music being put out into the world (a very good thing) it is hard to really stand out and withstand the test of time… but so far, so good. I am groovin’… and we ALL NEED TO BE GROOVIN’!!!

 

 

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103 Years, 103 Tears… Music Comforts And Consoles And Sends Me Messages From Beyond – This One Is For GG

June gloom… I’ll say.
On June 1st my Grandmother passed away. Many knew her as Mildred. I knew her as Grammy
And with the birth of my daughter, she became GG, Great Grandma. She got to see three great granddaughters… and up until maybe a year ago she was all there… and that is an amazing thing.

She was 103. But to quote or paraphrase from Billy Crystal in Mr. Saturday Night, “It wasn’t enough.”

Me And GG

Perhaps I am naive… I know in many things I am… but… I think that all of us innocently hope and expect that people we have known for our entire lifetimes will be with us for our entire lifetimes. It obviously just doesn’t work out that way.

Living so far away means there were gaps in visits and stories and seeing her… and luckily we got to spend the past holidays with her… But I was hoping to get at least one more visit… one more kiss… one more holding her hand and letting her know how much we loved her.

When someone passes, I think part of the reason we are so sad… and perhaps this is selfish… is that regret kicks in… that movie of all the things we COULD have done starts playing in our minds. We realize where we dropped the ball… what mistakes we made… what we missed with that person, but also what we have missed for ourselves… How we have not lived up to our true potential… It’s a sad and horrible feeling.

I never got to show my Grandmother much professional success. She questioned my career, my lifestyle, my facial hair… but I know she got to see love and caring, and perhaps that is the most important thing.

I went to pick up J from school early the other day and as I got out of the car, the last thing I heard was Bono singing:
“And there is a light, don’t let it go out.” (From “Song For Someone” by U2)

Then a short while later, the man who used to be about peace and love, Cat Stevens sings:
“My body has been a good friend, but I won’t need it when I reach the end.” (From “Miles From Nowhere”)

That is some heavy shit right there… Profound… And on point? Uh, yeah!
There are no coincidences, so I knew they were messages and words I needed to hear.

My Grandmother was not much of a Rock n’ Roller… and certainly not a DJ… but she seems to be spinning some great tunes for me and sending some amazing messages my way…

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I got in the car this morning at about 4 am, heading to LAX to fly home for the funeral…
First song… actually the very first lyrics I hear from my radio, tuned to the great KCSN:

“Yes, I understand that every life must end, uh-huh
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, uh-huh
Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love
Some folks just have one, yeah, others, they’ve got none.

Stay with me…
Let’s just breathe…”  (From “Just Breathe” by Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam)

Come on! That is crazy!  And yet… it is not. Not crazy at all. There is so much more out there… a true higher power or being or whatever you choose to believe in… but there is something there.

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Then there was some Bruce, which had nothing to do with anything… other than it being BRUUUUUUCE! I cannot tell you how much I LOOOOOOVE this station! And you KNOW how much I love Bruce.

I park my car… get on the shuttle bus… and though it is about a different kind of lost love, what is the song playing… which literally starts as I sit down?

“Every time I think of you, I always catch my breath
And I’m still standing here, and you’re miles away
And I’m wonderin’ why you left…”   (From “Missing You” by John Waite)

Come on now!!! Again! Who let my Grandmother into the music library?

My Morning Jacket’s “Believe (Nobody Knows)” still powerfully resonates, and plays all the time in my head… ALL THE TIME!

“Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows
Believe, believe, believe, believe
Nobody knows for sure.”

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And I cannot get this song out of my head, though it’s been there from before her passing, too… Thank you for that one as well, KCSN!!!

“Where do you fall when you have nowhere to go?
Where do you go where you have no one to see?
What do you see when you have nothing to feel?
What do you feel when you’re all alone?”  (From “Falling From The Sky” by Calexico, featuring Ben Bridwell)

You know how much music means to me from this blog… Hopefully you know how much my Grandmother meant to me… and will continue to mean…

So these tunes… these words… these ideas are so very powerful… and the fact they are coming to me precisely when they are is beyond my brain to ponder…

Thank you for the music… thank you for the strength and the faith… the Emuna…

I need to be… We all just need to be… Open… take it all in… and let it fill our loving cup.

103 years… 103 tears… probably a lot more… And I will always love you.

I know it was just an oil slick on the rain-soaked pavement, but as I got into my parents car at the airport, there on the ground were several rainbows…

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Goodbye GG… and hello. From one world to the next and always by my side. I will love you forever… for as long as I live and beyond.

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