Two of the acts boldly leading Texas music into the future have now delivered a second chapter of their groundbreaking collaboration, further extending the region’s sonic possibilities. Singer/songwriter Leon Bridges, from Ft. Worth, and trailblazing Houston trio Khruangbin have joined forces for the Texas Moon EP, a follow-up to 2020’s acclaimed “Texas Sun” project. While the five new songs are clearly a continuation of the first EP, they also have an identity all their own – Bridges calls it “more introspective,” while Khruangbin bassist Laura Lee says it “feels more night time.”
The writing is a reflection of their mutual trust and Texan influences, the vast array of artists embedded in the state’s DNA – from Beyonce and ZZ Top to Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Geto Boys, or Willie Nelson and Erykah Badu – Khruangbin and Leon, too, expound upon the state’s diverse range of sounds. “I think we’re redefining how people perceive Texas music – that beautiful marriage of country and R&B – and really paying homage to that,” says Bridges.
Significantly, both parties’ musical directions were clearly affected by their time working together. Khruangbin’s most recent album, “Mordechai”, moved their own vocals much further forward, a change they readily admit was a direct result of working with Bridges. Meanwhile, since these recordings began, in addition to his genre-defying album “Gold-Digger’s Sound”, Bridges has put out several other challenging, shared tracks, including work with John Mayer, Lucky Daye, and Jazmine Sullivan.
“As far as an essentially instrumental band, these guys are kind of the top for me,” says Bridges. “I’m honored to have been the first singer that they’ve incorporated in their music.”
“It feels really special to me,” says Lee. “It’s not Khruangbin, it’s not Leon, it’s this world we created together.”
Khruangbin and Leon have also hand-selected a cadre of Texan luminaries to curate playlists on TexasSunTexasMoon.com and via the artists Apple Music and Spotify profiles called “The Stars At Night”. Following their own playlists, they’ve handed the torch to and ethnomusicologist Flash Gordon Parks, visual artist Tierney Malone, Houston nightclub legend Gracie Chavez, and mentor to Khruangbin themselves, DJ Sun, to showcase the music that permeates the nightclubs, sports bars, airwaves and streets of Houston; a survey of the complex fabric that is the Sound of Texas.
This Spring Khruangbin will embark on a run of US tour dates in Miami, Berkeley, Houston, and more with support from Toro Y Moi & Men I Trust. The run will top off the band’s extensive European tour (where they will make their headlining debut performance at London’s iconic Alexandra Palace and play cities such as Switzerland, Amsterdam, Paris, and more) and the band’s debut headlining two-night-run at Radio City Music Hall this March, solidifying Khruangbin’s most monumental tour to date.
Bridges will also set out on the road in Europe this March with support from Chiiild and play a US headlining stadium tour this fall with shows at the Forum in LA, NYC’s Forest Hills and more with support from Little Dragon in support of his two time Grammy-nominated album ‘Gold-Diggers’ Sound.
Photo: Pooneh Ghana