More from NPR.org:
Leon Bridges‘ music hearkens back to the soul of old: He may be a charismatic singer in his 20s, but his music draws on a crisply appointed, pure, decades-old sound. But watch the new video for his song “River,” and it’s clear that Bridges has his eye fixed on the present, as well. Filled with images from the recent Baltimore Uprising, the footage here makes it clear that the singer’s understanding of soul’s past doesn’t stop with a look or a sound.
“A river has historically been used in gospel music as symbolism for change and redemption,” Bridges writes via email. “My goal was to write a song about my personal spiritual experience. It was written during a time of real depression in my life, and I recall sitting in my garage trying to write a song which reflected this struggle. I felt stuck working multiple jobs to support myself and my mother. I had little hope and couldn’t see a road out of my reality. The only thing I could cling to in the midst of all that was my faith in God and my only path towards baptism was by way of the river.