Leon Bridges went from dishwasher at a local restaurant in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas to a Grammy nominee in less than two years, which is a path that most aspiring musicians only dream of. There are many reasons why his star rose so quickly, and he brought them all with him to his sold out show at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Wednesday, March 2nd.
Son Little opened up the night with his R&B and soulful style. He caught the attention of the crowd early by making a joke about how there’s probably never been an 808 drum machine in the Ryman before. He was charming and the perfect warm up for Mr. Bridges.
Leon took the stage in a bright gold suit that began the trip back in time he’s been taking his fans on; classy suits worn by every band member (and we can’t forget Bridges’ beautiful background singer, Brittni, wearing a stunning full length dress that fit right in), Motown inspired songs, dancing and commanding the stage in a style reminiscent of James Brown. He started off his set with “Smooth Sailin’”, which immediately brought the crowd to their feet! Bridges talked very little between songs, joking that he was too awkward.
There was an indescribable energy that came from the perfect mix of being in the motherland of all music venues, and his captivating stage presence. Bridges even got the ushers dancing! He continued to dance and sing his way through some new songs, which the crowd inhaled. No titles were given, but many tunes had that soul and gospel sound we know and love. He headed in a new direction with a few – steel guitar was very present, taking more of an old country approach, and the Nashville audience happily accepted. Continuing to use the attentive and very talented Nashville crowd to his advantage, he gave a memorable performance of “Coming Home”, where he let the crowd sing an entire verse! The high energy continued right through to the encore. He did slow down for the last song of the evening; he relieved his band and performed “ River”, using only his guitar and background vocals from Brittni.