Smooth Sailin’ – Leon Bridges

It’s no surprise that Leon Bridges draws comparisons of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. Or that his largest listening-base is in London. (Those Brits are fairly soulful, after all.)

My craving for modern soul always leads me down interesting paths, and it caused me to knock on Leon Bridge’s door, seeking reprieve from the Twenty One Pilot’s of the world.

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Bridges is only 26, and his maturity both as an individual and a musician, greatly predates his current generation. Even in interviews, his demeanor is relaxed, respectful and open.

He’s taken an interesting stance on his sound, though. Bridges has been quoted as saying that he thinks he was born in the right generation. He understands that it’s his throwback sound that draws attention now, whereas in the 50s or 60s, he’d probably get swallowed up in the sea of soulful musicians.

“Smooth Sailin'” boogies the way an old Stax-produced track would. It’s a refreshing pick-me-up in the recent trend of moody, echoey, beat-laden tracks.

I can see Bridges forming himself as less of a breakout mainstream artist, and more of an under-the-radar artist that sticks around for awhile, like The Gaslight Anthem. Substance is the name of the game when it comes to this young, striking musician.

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Bridging the Gap – Nas featuring Olu Dara

I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS SONG SINCE 2004. AND I JUST FOUND IT.

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No joke.

When it came out, I was about 14, and I thought it was fucking genius.

I loved the fact that Nas was directly referencing the Blues, the roots that influenced Rap and Hip Hop.

But when you search the internets for this song, it’s virtually impossible to find. It’s not even on Nas’ YouTube channel!

Well, I dug it up anyway.

While the video had a high rotation on MTV and BET after its release, it’s just not a song that a lot of people remember. I LOVED the way it melded together Rap and Blues.

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In it, Nas samples Muddy Waters song, “Mannish Boy,” which is not only a fitting sound, but the title speaks to the message of Nas’ song as well. His father, Olu Dara sings a blues riff as the chorus.

How many musicians put their parents on their songs?! Not many. How many TRULY dig deep down into their history and feature it proudly on a track? Again, not many. These are just a few of the reasons Nas is a genius, and this track is evidence of that.

The Wedding War

Brandon and I agonized over the music selections for our wedding for MONTHS. We got married in October, so we knew that would have some effect on the music, as it was a large influence on the decorations. But the playlist was seriously the hardest part of the entire planning process. We have very different musical tastes, and the things he found exciting and humorous, I found tacky. The things I found kitschy and fun, he found annoying. A war was waged.

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FINALLY – we sucked it up and made a pretty interesting playlist. For which the DJ promptly ignored in lieu of playing SHITTY country music. We’ve since decided that if that’s the worst thing that happened on our wedding day, we’re pretty damned lucky. But you can’t blame a couple for trying. So, here, in all of it’s glory, is our INTENDED wedding playlist. (Grenades and gatling guns aside.)

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1. Left Hand Free – Alt J
2. XO – Beyonce
3. Around My Head – Cage the Elephant (The part where lead singer Matt says, “Can ya dig it” is my friend Jesse’s favorite lyric to emphasize when scream-singing along.)
4. Stay Alive – Jose Gonzalez (This was our reception entrance song.) This song was also featured in the movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which Brandon and I found enchanting. We always think of Ben Stiller longboarding through Iceland when we hear this.
5. Black or White – Michael Jackson
6. Santa Monica  – Everclear
7. Stand By Me – Ben E. King (Mother/groom dance.)
8. Fell In Love With A Girl – The White Stripes (We liken aspects of our relationship to the one in Silver Linings Playbook. We already loved The White Stripes, but now this song took on a different meaning.)
9. Midnight Rider – The Allman Brothers Band (I do my best to not think of the time this song was featured in The Devils Rejects. *shudder)
10. Love Potion No. 9 – The Clovers
11. Cupid – Sam Cooke
12. Crossroads – Cream (My dad was obsessed with this song when I was growing up. It played on the stereo quite a bit.)
13. Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino
14. L.A. Woman – The Doors (Mr. Mojo Risin’ is my favorite part to chant over and over. My dad used to chant it as he worked in his garage.)
15. Cool Kids – Echosmith (I heard this song for the first time while I was in Drifters in Nashville visiting Jesse a few years ago. I brought it back home with me.)
16. Danger! High Voltage – Electric Six
17. Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac
18. All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers (Cassie and I belt this song together. She was my Maid of Honor, so this was dedicated to her.)
19. Anna Sun – Walk The Moon (Brandon and I have fantasies of being able to do the dance in this video. It still hasn’t happened.)
20. Heavy Bells – J Roddy Walston And The Business
21. The Passenger – Iggy Pop
22. Dancing On My Own – Robyn (I used to work at Torrid, and this song played all the time. I learned to love it through osmosis.)
23. Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones (The phrase, “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was sang a lot as I was a kid.)
24. Sloppy Seconds – Watsky (The opening line made me leery, but Watsky is such a talent that we couldn’t skip him.)
25. Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
26. My Generation – The Who
27. Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
28. Always Alright – Alabama Shakes (Recessional song.)
29. The Man In Me – Bob Dylan (The Big Lebowski, anyone?)
30. Runaway Baby – Bruno Mars
31. Where the Wind Blows – Coco O.
32. A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) – Fergie, Q-Tip, GoonRock
33. Mae – The Gaslight Anthem (Processional song.)
34. You Are My Sunshine – Johnny Cash (Father/bride dance.) (I bawled like a baby when I listened to this, and I knew my dad and I had to dance to it.)
35. The Ghost Who Walks – Karen Elson (Jack White’s ex-wife is quite the talent. Another Third Man Records find.)
36. West Coast – Lana Del Rey
37. Call It What You Will – Larry and His Flask
38. I Am Not Willing – Moby Grape
39. I Love You More Than Words Can Say – Otis Redding (First dance song.)
40. Booty Swing – Parov Stelar
41. Rye Whiskey – Punch Brothers
42. Let Go – RAC, Kele, MNDR (Jarrett, who was my Man of Honor, introduced us to this song, and we couldn’t forget it.)
43. In the Jailhouse Now – The Soggy Bottom Boys (When we’re alone, Brandon sings this song. He does quite a good job.)
44. Atlantic City – The Band
45. Down in Mexico – The Coasters (Death Proof solidified this song for us.)
46. Nothing But a Heartache – The Flirtations
47. Bang Bang – will.i.am
48. Hello Operator – The White Stripes
49. When She Begins – Social Distortion
50. Ohio – The Black Keys
51. Just Got Paid – ZZ Top
52. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
53. Would You Fight For My Love? – Jack White
54. Fire – Jimi Hendrix
55. Gold and Warm – Bad Veins
56. On My Mind – New Found Glory
57. Harry Potter Soundtrack (Seating music before ceremony.) (We got more compliments on this choice than anything else on this playlist.Everyone LOVED hearing this when they entered the venue.)