It's hard not to think of Leon Bridges as an old soul: he dresses like a stylish 1950's sartorial man on stage; all his photos on Instagram are taken in black and white, a lot of which capture things that are vintage, or at least look the part; his backup singers are dubbed "The Chandeliers," a name that sounds like a harmony group straight out of the Motown era. But it's the music that really takes you back to the heydays of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, soulful numbers like "Coming Home" and "Better Man" that reminds some of us of a simpler time.
"Lisa Sawyer" is Bridges' latest single, where he isn't pining for the girl back home. The titular individual isn't a lover, but rather, his mother, and the song is his loving serenade to her. Throughout the lilting sax and saccharine doo-wop vocals, Bridges affectionately croons about Mama Sawyer's life: born in New Orleans as the youngest of seven, grew up in a family that was "rich in love," and discovered God at the age of 16. By the end, it feels kind of nice to have gotten to know her through the story we're told.
It's the sort of track that's sentimental in every sense of the word: lyrically sweet ("she had the complexion of / the complexion of a sweet praline / hair long as the sea"), musically nostalgic, and Bridges channels even more heart into his most personal release yet. "Lisa Sawyer" may be about his mom, but listening to it is going to make you want to share a dance with yours.