Khruangbin and Leon Bridges Bake in the Texas Sun

Chris Daly soaks up some rays with this highly touted collaboration.
By    February 14, 2020

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Chris Daly bakes regardless of the weather, but he loves to work on his tan.

This is late afternoon, early evening, summer music. This is that music for when the sky begins taking on those purple and yellow and green and red hues just before nighttime descends. This is the soundtrack for when you press play on when your day isn’t quite over, but your night has yet to fully spark up.  Texas Sun by the Lone Star State’s own Khruangbin and Leon Bridges, a record that is probably the best unlikely tandem since Killer Mike first got down with El-P.

As is often the case with musical serendipity, it seemingly all started with a tour. Way, way back in ’18, Bridges and Khruangbin (the inimitable Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar and Donald “DJ” Johnson on skins) shared a series of stages, both promoting their respective sophomore albums. Something clearly clicked between the four, as only a cursory listen of the four-song EP likely will have you asking, “are you sure y’all haven’t played together before now?” Bridges’ Marvin Gaye by way of Charley Pride vocal stylings pair damn near perfectly with Khruangbin’s laid back funk.
The eponymous opening track hits like a cooling breeze on a hot summer day. Part soul ballad, part honky tonk slow burner, the song hits like jalapeno. “Midnight” maintains the low key vibe, but with a chorus punch that keeps the listener guessing where things are going next. “C-Side” takes things in a somewhat funkier direction before closer “Conversion” ends things on an almost spiritual level, all the more appropriate when you consider Bridges’ and Johnson’s backgrounds playing gospel.
“It all feels like a cross-country Texas drive to me,” Lee said of the album. “I hope people can listen to it while putting themselves in that headspace. Some of my favorite moments listening to music are me by myself in a car–or preferably a truck–driving across Texas.”
If you’ve got the time, Khurangbin and Leon Bridges most certainly have the ride.

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