The triumphant return of an audience-filled 47th Season of Austin City Limits tapings opened with a trio of Texas-based musical artists: Longview’s country queen Miranda Lambert, Houston’s worldly trio Khruangbin (QRO live review) and Ft. Worth’s R&B and soul sensation Leon Bridges. Bridges is no stranger to ACLTV, having completed his first taping in 2015, in which I was in attendance as a photographer to document his first appearance on the infamous Austin-based television show (QRO photos).
Bridges’ first appearance in 2015, in support of his debut album, Coming Home, showed off the young songwriter’s admiration and devotion to the genre of R&B. Songs such as “Better Man” and “Smooth Sailin’” could feel right at home out of Motown in the 1960s as they did in the 2010s as well as now. As Bridges sound writing and musical talents have developed over the years, the depth of his lyrics and the vocal texturing of songs off his latest album Gold-Diggers Sound prove that his maturity and life experiences have birthed a more unique musical vibe that the audience connected to this night.
As musical collaborators Khruangbin had recorded their ACL Live taping the night before, one hoped for a lively rendition of “Texas Sun” between the two bands – however this unfortunately wasn’t the case this night. However, with a promise to the audience to give them the live music that we have all craved over the last two years due to a Pandemic, Bridges ended with Coming Home hits “Coming Home” and “River”. As an added bonus, he added an encore of an additional live take of Gold-Diggers Sound “Born Again”, thus leaving the audience in a satisfying daze as everyone filed out of the venue into the warm late-summer outdoor air.